11:28 AM, 25th August 2016, About 5 years ago 11
I have just had a very traumatic experience after taking a freehold management company to 1st tier tribunal over a costs dispute.
This is my story of how winning £800 cost me over £14,000.
In 2014 I took a managing agent to a 1st Tier Tribunal and they were ordered to repay unreasonable service charges. The tribunal made a No Costs order.
Great I thought, I will get money back and move on….. No chance!
I received a County Court Summons alleging I owed Ground Rent and Service charges and fees. The managing agents refused to provide service charge summaries and refused to provide accounts.
I know – what does the lease say – yep lease says we have to be provided with a summary, no chance!
What about S21 & S22 LTA 1985? That does not exist nor does, 152 Common hold Leasehold Reform Act. What about ARMA – nope. RICS, IRPM has no requirement to follow their code of practice. They can charge what they like and don’t have to account how they spend lessee’s money– so suck it up!
However, I have copies of all my bank statements and cheques gong back 9 years. I do not owe service charges or ground rent. Easy case to win I thought – I can prove what I paid, now you prove I owe it!
No need – apparently they claimed I owed £850 legal fees from the 1st Tier Tribunal – ah but the tribunal ordered no costs.
Apparently there was a case in the high court Chaplair Ltd v Kumari that basically said regardless of the outcome of any case before the courts or tribunal the management company was entitled to recover its costs if it says so in the lease so I have to pay these £800 solicitors costs and just got hit with another £10,200 of legal fees + VAT for trying to defend myself. I’m now looking at a bill of £14k for a bill of £800 in a small claims court! This totally wipes me out!
So for all those people wanting to dispute service charges ground rent and administration fees in a 1st tier tribunal or court, don’t, just pay up, you can’t win!
The management companies and their solicitors have a licence to print money and of course if you loose (and you will), they will hit you back hard for daring to challenge them.
This is nothing but a protection racket!
Pay us what we think you owe, if you don’t we’ll give it to a solicitor and win or lose we’ll bung it on your account and come after you again and the court must find in our favour.
Of course some would say scumlords deserve it, however my wife bought this flat when she was diagnosed with cancer. She wanted to give our kids a step on the housing ladder. She died 12 months ago so can’t really claim that we were professional landlords under any stretch of the imagination.
Me – what am I going to do, sell it as soon as possible, probably at a loss, re-mortgage my home to pay these costs, then of course fall back on the training I received in the armed forces and ……………. well no need to go into details.
Now the company responsible for this scam was Trinity Estates, the thieving lying solicitors JB Leitch – if you have anything to do with these thieves’ liars and scumbags – sell up asap.
You have been warned – Ian
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