Who owns refund from leasehold major works – seller or buyer?Make Text Bigger
I recently bought an ex-council flat which got a huge bill mainly for window replacement. The information pack showed an unpaid bill of £26k for major works, with a comment saying they expect the final bill to be less.
The purchase was completed in Sept as urged by the seller and the seller’s solicitor paid off the major works bill on Oct 5. In Nov, I received a letter advising of a credit of £2.3k (credited to my account on Oct 10) for major works and an adjustment of £52.88 (credit) for service charge (credited on Sept 7). As the letter was addressed to me asking me for account details for the refund, I requested the management company to pay to me the £2.3k. The manager held it back and sought advice from both solicitors as it’s BIG. They have no problem for me to have the small credit for service charge overpaid, which is not consistent to me.
The completion schedule showed apportionment for service charge, a retention of £3k for major works and another small amount retained for service charge, but nothing was agreed in case there’s a refund. I agree the £3k retention is now not needed so will be returned to the seller, but I should be entitled to the £2.3k credit as I risk bearing any debit above £3k retained. Although my solicitor agrees with my common sense, the dept head refers to clause 6.3.5 of the Standard Conditions of Sale (5th edition) and thinks this £2.3k credit should belong to the seller. I don’t see any connection between major works and clause 6.3.5. My solicitor didn’t request the mgmt co. to refund me per my request, but at least didn’t tell them to pay the seller. The money would just sit in a pending account although I still see it in my account.
During my research, I found this link from Islington council: https://beta.islington.gov.uk/~/media/sharepoint-lists/public-records/housing/information/adviceandinformation/20142015/20150302apportionmentsandretentionsfactsheet.pdf It shows that retention and apportionment are different items. And refund is yet another item. Last bullet clearly says seller has to get agreement from buyer for refund I called Islington Council to ask from a seller’s position who didn’t agree on this and they said the best a seller can do is to ask their solicitor to ask for the refund to be passed on to them, but if the buyer doesn’t agree then they can’t do anything.
Can anyone advise on my position? What options do I have when my solicitor is not helpful to me? Specialist dispute resolution solicitor? Changing solicitor when sale has completed?Court?
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