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  1. First of all, THANK YOU so much Stu007 for such great advice!! Really appreciate it. Sorry for the late reply. I am going to write a letter to Mrs K's company based on the facts you suggested. In the meantime I have a couple of updates: 1. I managed to download the annual financial statements of Management company from Companies House. I showed them to my colleague in the Finance Department and she said the accounts are wrong!! As I mentioned there are 36 houses in the community and the service charge is flat rate for all houses. For example let's say each house pay GBP 1000 per annum x 36 houses = Turnover should be GBP 36k. However every year the Turnover was like GBP 26k. This mean there must be some outstanding service charge owed by one or more of my neighbours but this difference GBP 10k was not shown under "Debtors" in the balance sheet. The accounts are prepared by the same Charted Accountancy Firm for like 30+ years but the debtors is always zero and never moves. And Turnover is always low. I told my colleague I want to report this to some authority but she said it would not go anywhere. As the service charge company they do not need to pay taxes, HMRC would not care. I will be just a nuisance. 2. As you suggested, in the past few days I dug through the purchase deeds. I must admit when I see legal words my brain stops working so I didn't pay much attention to this service charge related thingy when I bought the house. I found there was NO paragraph related to this service charge in the deeds. However amongst the thousands of communication emails between seller and buyer solicitors, I found that the Management company has 36 shareholders for 36 houses. My previous seller has misplaced his share certificate so my solicitor was asking for it. I do not know how they solved it, the purchase went through eventually. Now I checked this on Companies House. Every year (after I bought the house in 2017) Mrs K filed with Co House that my previous seller is still the shareholder. I was never issued with a new share certificate nor she didn't update my name with Co House. I am going to ask for a share certificate in the letter to Mrs K. I do hope she will comply because I dont know which Authority to go to if she keeps ignore me. Thanks again for reading my rant, I will keep you updated, I guess this can go on for months!
  2. Hello everyone, I need your advice. A little background story - I bought a freehold house back in 2017. Even tho it is freehold, it is situated on private road and there are total of 36 houses there. There is a residential management company and the Director and Secretary is (let's call her Mrs K) Mrs K owns one of the house and apparently she has been there for 30+ years. Each house in this little community needs to pay service charge every month. At that time, my solicitor asked for the evidence that the Seller had settled all the charges and it was a small drama to get this info from Mrs K. She wasn't willing to give anything in writing. Anyway after that I was left with a piece of scrap paper in the letter box by Mrs K, the info of the bank account handwritten on it. I have been paying to this bank account ever since 2017. Initially I requested Mrs K the receipt to make sure I am paying into the correct account but was ignored. I was a new resident to this little community so I didnt want to fall out with her, I didnt press any further. While I was at work during the day Mrs K would regularly came into my garden and started sorting out the bin. Because I lived alone, my bin was never full and she would bring other people 's trash into my bin so that ppl with bigger trash have their bin managed. (I know this from cctv images) she and I never met. And again I let her do what she wants as I dont want to upset the queen of the community. (pushover, i know!) In 2019, Mrs K knocked on my door and informed me that the charge was increased by 50%. I told her I will increase my payment if she can give me this notification in formal/writing. She looked upset and immediately left. So I mailed her - addressed her as the Director of G Ltd and formally requested the annual audited statements, the invoice or written notification of the increase in service charge etc, which to this date I have never received any of them. I asked around my neighbors and found out that I was the only one asked for the increase! I went to the bank and asked about the bank account I have been paying. The bank cannot give out the name of the account but they confirmed that it was not the company account! Anyway she didnt come to me again and whats with Covid and all, I forgot all about it. I keep paying the original 2017 amount. I eventually moved to different city and renting my house. Yesterday Mrs K went to my tenant and asked them to tell me that the service charge increase again (by 150% from original amount!). I asked around my neighbor and they are not asked for the increase - neither in 2019 or now! They are still paying the original amount. They also confirmed that they never received annual audited statements. I am going to pay the increase starting from this month because I dont want to be in the wrong legally. But can any of you advised me how should I proceed from here? All I want to see is some sort of proof that everyone in the community is paying the same amount, also that I am paying into the company's not someone's personal account. Since she is not cooperating and refuses to do anything in writing, what are my rights here? Do I have the legal right to see the company bank statements? When I sell this house in the future, how do I prove that I have settled the monthly charges and not owe anything. Can I use my bank statements as proof of payments ? Thanks for giving time to read my long winded story and please help.
  3. Good News:whoo:DCA agreed to waive the fees so my account is clearrrrr.... Thank you so much everyone. You all are very kind and helpful.. Wishing you the best!
  4. Oh now I c, gosh this is totally different from what I translated and understood. I thought I needed to pay £250 in 2004 (the time I bought the flat. Gosh, I m so ignorant and dumb. No wonder I frequently get into trouble. Thank you so much Erics!
  5. Dear Renegade, Thank you so much for being supportive. What should I do next? I want to write them back that their DCA fee is unenforceable? Is there any template or sample letter that I can quote of?
  6. Dear Surfer and Renegade, Where can I find that these charges are unenforceable?? Can you please please help me? The updated situation: The MA has apologised and dropped their fees but DCA is sending me this letter: "Our fees of £178.00 remain outstanding. We trust this is merely an oversight on your part and request payment is made within seven days of the date of this letter. Where payment is not made, solicitors will be instructed to act in taking debt recovery proceedings in the County Court. Should court proceedings commence, the court fee and solicitor’s costs will be added to the arrears and any judgment entered against you may prejudice your ability to obtain credit." Should I go to LVT? or OFT?
  7. Thank you so much 2Grumpy, I did provide them a copy of the letter I wrote - informing the previous Managing Agent in Jan that I'd be gone for months and my alternative address. So right now, the MA reduced their arrear collection fees but they are still pending to remove the instruction fee that they paid to DCA and the DCA fee which is about £250. They said it is not their fault because previous MA didn't provide them with my updated address when they took over.
  8. The MA replied to me as follows: "Unfortunately we are unable to remove the legal fees due to the time that has lapsed since you making contact with us" I read the letter from DCA again and noticed that they mentioned the completely different MA in the letter. I did some research but my MA and the MA in the letter are not related in any way. I guess it is just typo error, or can I use it against them? I have emailed serveral time to DCA that I made the payment directly to MA but no reply so far. Should I write them by post? Or is it MA's responsiblity to contact to DCA about my payment?
  9. Thanks Everyone for your replies. I was feeling so down. Here is their breakdown, Arrears Collection Fee £60+VAT Instruction Fee to DCA £70+VAT DCA fee £140+VAT All together £324 I will write to them as per BRIGADIER2JCS' advice.
  10. Dear Renegadeimp No I do not have any t&cs from this new agent nor the agent before them. Thank you so much for your advice.
  11. Dear Ericsbrother Thanks very much for your advice. I made a payment via online banking and the Managing Agent accepted it! Now they are asking the extra £300 for paying late for nearly four months. They are asking this via the DCA called Property Debt Collection Ltd PDC. To be honest it is difficult for me to pay the lum sum amount £1500 in advance for 2013/2014 period. The Managing Agent do not accept the direct debit payments. However, I immediately pay this amount, because I dont want to get into trouble. However, I believe that it is unfair to be charged £300 for legal costs. I found another paragraph from the Lease (the lease was signed in 2004): "Tenant's Convenants II To pay to the Management Company on the date hereof the sum of £250 on account of Service Charge to the next following 31st March and thereafter on 1st April in each year such sum as the Management Company shall consider is fair and reasonable on account of the Service Charge and forthwith on receipt of the Certificate to pay to the Management Company any balance of the Service Charge then found to be owing PROVIDED ALWAYS that any overdue Service Charge may be recovered by the Landlord as if the same were rent in arrears" Does this mean that the Advance Service Charge must be paid on the exact date of 1st April?
  12. Dear All, After just finished dealing with the Identity Theft problems (my other thread) , here I am again, someone please help me... I own a flat and pay service charge always on time to the Managing Agent. The service charge period run from April to March. I notified the Managing Agent that I was working aborad by email. However, while I was abroad, the new Managing Agent was appointed in April 2013. And they sent me the service charge bills in advance for 01 April 2013 to 31 March 2014. They quickly transferred this to the DCA called Property Debt Colletion Ltd (PDC). Now that I am back in the UK, I saw the reminders and threatening letters so I immediately settled the full amount of service charge directly to the Managing Agent and apologised to them and explaining them that I was abroad and I always pay my service charge and ground rent in advance on time. However, they said, saying sorry is too late and I have to pay for the Arrears Collection Fees, Legal costs, and other DCA costs of £300. What I want to know is that this service charge is for the period April 2013 to March 2014. I settled the full amount in August 2013. Am I legally "Late" for payment?? Is it legal for them to charge me £300 extra costs, just for being late for a few months? I checked my Lease and it says as follows, honestly I dont understand the legal words, somebody please help me.. "In pursuance of the said agreement and in consideration of the payment by the Tenant to the Landlord of the Premium and of the Rent and of the convenants on the part of the Tenant hereinafter contained and on the part of the Tenant to be observed and performed the Landlord HEREBY DEMISES unto the Tenant the Demised Premises TOGETHER WITH the rights set out in the Second Schedule hereto but EXCEPTING AND RESERVING the rights set out in the Third Schedule hereto TO HOLD the same unto the Tenant for the Term SUBJECT TO all rights easements privileges restrictions covenants and stipulations of whatever nature affecting the Demised Premises so far as the same are subsisting and capable of being enforced and affect the Demised Premises YEILDING AND PAYING therefore the Rent in advance without any deduction whatsoever on 1st January in each year (the first such payment being a proportionate sum being due on and from the date hereof until 31st December next following) and by way of additional rent the Service Charge as herein provided Tenant's Covenants I To pay the Rent at the times and in the manner aforesaid"
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