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Leaseholder advice – service charge demand


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I am hoping someone can advise me in respect of the service charge demand for 2009 and statement of account that I have received in respect of my flat.

 

I have received a very short letter from the managing agents on behalf of the management company.

 

The letter contains the following information:

 

· The address of the managing agent (but only a PO Box address)

 

· The name of the management company but no postal address at all

 

· A reference to the AGM of the management company in respect of a demand for payment of £997.27 in service charges for 2009 (a summary budget for 2009 was circulated at the AGM but a copy was not provided with the service charge demand for the benefit of the majority of residents that did not attend the AGM)

 

· Bank account details for payment

 

My questions are as follows:

 

· Should the service charge demand for 2009 have been accompanied by a summary of the proposed budget for 2009?

 

· Should the service charge demand have included the full postal address of the management company? My understanding is that ss.47-48 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 require this. Is this correct?

 

· Should the service charge demand have included a summary of leaseholder rights and obligations? I understand that s.153 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 requires this from October 2007. Is this correct?

 

· If the above-mentioned legislation does apply, is it also correct that a failure on the part of the management company or its managing agent to comply entitles a leaseholder to withhold service charge payments until there is compliance with the statutory requirements?

 

Given that the 2008 service charge demand was equally vague, it should be fairly obvious why I am asking these questions but also why I need to be sure of my legal position.

 

In addition to the letter, a brief summary statement of account was also enclosed.

 

I have a long standing dispute over alleged service charge arrears and the summary statement provided to me continues to include a sum that I do not owe.

 

I have asked the managing agents on numerous occasions to provide a detailed statement of account showing individual service charge payments that I have made since as far as I am concerned not all of my payments have been accounted for.

 

The managing agents have not supplied this information but continue to instruct a debt collection company.

 

Could someone please confirm whether it is appropriate to submit a subject access request under s.7 Data Protection Act 1998 to the managing agent? Would this require the management company or its managing agent to provide evidence of each and every transaction on my service charge account?

 

I hope someone can help …. many thanks.

 

Richard

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Richard, sorry the only question i can answer is you can send a SAR to the managment company and they have to respond within the allocated time

 

Manc1

 

Many thanks .... I will subit a SAR and await the response (or possibly lack of one) with interest.

 

I can feel a compalint to the ICO coming on already ....

 

Richard

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  • 2 weeks later...
I am hoping someone can advise me in respect of the service charge demand for 2009 and statement of account that I have received in respect of my flat.

 

I have received a very short letter from the managing agents on behalf of the management company.

 

The letter contains the following information:

 

· The address of the managing agent (but only a PO Box address)

 

· The name of the management company but no postal address at all

 

· A reference to the AGM of the management company in respect of a demand for payment of £997.27 in service charges for 2009 (a summary budget for 2009 was circulated at the AGM but a copy was not provided with the service charge demand for the benefit of the majority of residents that did not attend the AGM)

 

· Bank account details for payment

 

My questions are as follows:

 

· Should the service charge demand for 2009 have been accompanied by a summary of the proposed budget for 2009?

I dont think so.

 

· Should the service charge demand have included the full postal address of the management company? My understanding is that ss.47-48 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 require this. Is this correct

I think this is the case, you appear to be looking in the right place (the 1985 act and 2002 Comnmonhold act contain most of the current law)

 

· Should the service charge demand have included a summary of leaseholder rights and obligations? I understand that s.153 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 requires this from October 2007. Is this correct

Yes...You can legally withhold payment untill they comply with this

 

· If the above-mentioned legislation does apply, is it also correct that a failure on the part of the management company or its managing agent to comply entitles a leaseholder to withhold service charge payments until there is compliance with the statutory requirements?

You got it !

 

Given that the 2008 service charge demand was equally vague, it should be fairly obvious why I am asking these questions but also why I need to be sure of my legal position.

 

In addition to the letter, a brief summary statement of account was also enclosed.

 

I have a long standing dispute over alleged service charge arrears and the summary statement provided to me continues to include a sum that I do not owe.

 

I have asked the managing agents on numerous occasions to provide a detailed statement of account showing individual service charge payments that I have made since as far as I am concerned not all of my payments have been accounted for.

 

The managing agents have not supplied this information but continue to instruct a debt collection company.

This is odd !. NOTHING is legally owing UNTILL a LVT court has ruled it so, inform the debt collection company of this and warn them that any further contact with you will be deemed harrasment ..if they are actually acting legally on your Man companies behalf they would have to apply to a county court who would refer it to the LVT who would then make a decision on what service charges are legally owing, if you havnt received a summary of rights this will be zero !..

 

Could someone please confirm whether it is appropriate to submit a subject access request under s.7 Data Protection Act 1998 to the managing agent? Would this require the management company or its managing agent to provide evidence of each and every transaction on my service charge account?

I dont know about this, but im interested as Im trying to get more info from my landlord/man.co.

 

I hope someone can help …. many thanks.

 

Richard

 

Theres a brilliant thread in here going into service charges in great detail, lemme know if u cant find it.

 

Also check out landlordzone forum or lease advisory service sites.

 

Andy

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Andydd , Would be helpful if you can find the thread relating to service charges, i am having probs with my managment company ,they have added large fees onto our account.

 

Manc1

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/residential-commercial-lettings/113080-service-charges-dispute-suggestions.html

 

Here ya go.

 

Its called Service charge Disputes - Suggestions by Ed999, I found it a few posts away from you. It should be a sticky (admin guys ?)

 

Also be aware that the 'no summary' argument is good, although they have to do now or in the future is suddenly send you one and then everything is owing (well unless there are then further agurements as to why not).

 

Ive just written a strong letter to my landlord mainly disputing the insurance costs but other things as well, ill copy n post it up as you may find some usefull.

 

 

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter dated 6th April and the enclosed insurance documents.

I am most disappointed that you have chosen to completely ignore my requests to insure the property with a more competitive insurance provider. As you have insured with the same provider using the same agent it is my assumption that you did no market testing and failed to obtain any alternative quotes at all.

I am also shocked to see that the insured value of the property has risen sharply to £xxx,000 and the rebuild costs to £xxx,000, both of these prices seem excessive given the current market conditions and I would like to know how these are calculated.

As I’m sure you are aware property prices have fallen over the last few years and there is also no evidence that rebuild costs have increased significantly, after seeking advice I have been informed that the rebuild costs would be in the region as previously stated, approximately £xxx,000.

Even when using the above figures as a guide I was able to obtain numerous like-for-like landlord building insurance quotes for the above property at costs of at least 50% - 70% less than the quoted £1250.60, it is well known that it is common practice for some sort of commission to be paid from the insurance agent to landlords, please let me know if this is NOT the case.

I have made no claims at all during the 14 years I have been at the property so this should also help in obtaining a lower premium.

Your quote our Insurance Advisers have been able to negotiate with Norwich Union to renew on the same terms’ implies that you are somehow doing me a favor despite the fact that the Insurance cost has now risen to an excessive and unreasonable amount.

As for the alleged outstanding service charges for the period 1st June 2007 – 31st may 2008, this contains many items that are simply not payable under the terms of the lease including but not limited to Accountants Fees, Interest and Account Admin Fees. The amounts charged for management and Building Insurance I also believe to be excessive.

Bearing in mind that there is no clause within the lease providing for payment in advance or on account, the service charge for the period 1st June 2008 – 31st May 2009 will be due after the costs within it are incurred and I receive the Final Income & Expenditure Account detailing these. I notice that your recent letter seems to agree with this position as you quote that the insurance premium will be invoiced to me at the end of the accounting period, which appears to contradict your statement that my lease ‘clearly does not state that the contribution should be after the costs have been incurred’ from your letter dated 8th September 2008.

Perhaps a start to a way forward would be for you to supply me with a detailed breakdown of the costs included within the two service charge periods, specifically including:-

· WHEN the cost(s) was incurred.

· A DATED RECEIPT showing the above billed to you from the company concerned.

· THE SECTION of the lease specifically showing that the above cost(s) can be recovered from me.

Also

· PROOF that you obtained alternative Building Insurance quotes.

· The supposed FULL DEED OF VARIATION showing the change in Ground Rent from £30 to £75 per annum.

· How any ADMINISTRATION FEES have been calculated and the extra work/costs that went into them to justify their amount.

 

 

 

 

 

Andy

Edited by andydd
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