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How to enforce flat service charges

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I live in a nice block of 30 flats and 1 owner has refused to pay any service charge, or even ground rent, since moving in 3 or 4 years ago. He bought outright and so has no mortgage. We obtained a Court Order and recently the Court reinforced the order, refusing to accept his appeal. We are now sending in the bailiffs but he claims to be disabled so the bailiffs are wary: and in any event we do not believe there is much, if anything, of value in the flat to set against the £5,000 or so outstanding debt. We are told our only final legal remedy is to seek forfeiture of the lease but equally that the Court is unlikely to order this for a relatively small debt (the flat is worth between £200,000 and £250,000) - and maybe his 'disability' will also be a problem. HELP - grateful for any legal advice please on what to do next and how best to maximise our chances of getting the debts paid off.

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Moved to Legal Forum


Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

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I live in a nice block of 30 flats and 1 owner has refused to pay any service charge, or even ground rent, since moving in 3 or 4 years ago. He bought outright and so has no mortgage. We obtained a Court Order and recently the Court reinforced the order, refusing to accept his appeal. We are now sending in the bailiffs but he claims to be disabled so the bailiffs are wary: and in any event we do not believe there is much, if anything, of value in the flat to set against the £5,000 or so outstanding debt. We are told our only final legal remedy is to seek forfeiture of the lease but equally that the Court is unlikely to order this for a relatively small debt (the flat is worth between £200,000 and £250,000) - and maybe his 'disability' will also be a problem. HELP - grateful for any legal advice please on what to do next and how best to maximise our chances of getting the debts paid off.

 

 

FOr a start I would not use the county court bailiffs, they are usless. Instruct High Court Enforcement Officers instead. Have a google for HCE Group.

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Hi Ganymede

 

Thanks for your interest and quick response. Yes we are aware of the difference between the bailiffs and it is indeed the High Court bailiffs (Enforcement Officers) who are to go in. But anyway we do not believe there will be enough - or anything - of value so it's really what to do thereafter that we're trying to find out about.

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Have you considered a Garnishee Order? Just Claim :: Enforcing the Judgment


Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

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Hi Cerberalert

 

Not considered this as far as I know so I'm really grateful to you and will certainly pursue this avenue. Again though it appears to have limitations - it only works once at the moment of being served and assuming then that there is (sufficient) money in his/their bank account (I guess we will need to check if the lease is held in his hands or jointly, since that will be relevant to which bank account we can attach). So a limited route but nevertheless definitely worth pursuing.

 

What amazes me is that the law appears not readily to protect lawabiding citizens against those who take them for a ride, but then maybe I've just been naive until we came up against this problem.

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The only other routes are a 'Charging Order' where the debt would have to be paid on the sale of his flat anytime in the future or a Statutory Demand where you actually bankrupt him and force the sale of the property.


Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

 

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17 Port & Maritime Regiment RCT

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Hi cerberusalert again

 

Yes that confirms my researches so many thanks - it's helpful to know that there are no other avenues we're not aware of. The Charging Order may not help in practice since they have no incentive to sell if they are living there scot free for as long as they want (no ground rent, no service charge), so unless the Courts will enforce forfeiture (unlikely if the result will be to throw a 'disbled' chap out of his home?) we may not get our money back down this route. And a Statutory Demand is OK but if they ignore it, we'd have to have them declared bankrupt and then we'll just be an unsecured creditor a long way down the list and so never get our money. Ho Hum.

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If he owns the property outright the chances are he has a fair amount in assets & with there being no mortgage to consider and you already having a court order it will put you quite high up the food chain when his assets are disposed of.


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Hi cerberusalert again

 

Yes that confirms my researches so many thanks - it's helpful to know that there are no other avenues we're not aware of. The Charging Order may not help in practice since they have no incentive to sell if they are living there scot free for as long as they want (no ground rent, no service charge), so unless the Courts will enforce forfeiture (unlikely if the result will be to throw a 'disbled' chap out of his home?) we may not get our money back down this route. And a Statutory Demand is OK but if they ignore it, we'd have to have them declared bankrupt and then we'll just be an unsecured creditor a long way down the list and so never get our money. Ho Hum.

 

 

 

Bankrupting him is going to cost at least £1k as well so probably not worth it.

 

Shame he doesn't have a job...

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Hi cerberusalert

 

Thanks. Some comfort I suppose. But the key question then is how do we enforce disposal of his assets?

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