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I've appointed a managing agent without fully complying with a section 20 notice

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I own a flat in a building with 2 other leaseholders. A few months ago, our managing agent left and with the support of one other leaseholder, I appointed a new one who has been doing a great job.

 

The third leaseholder refused to participate in the selection process for personal reasons. Three months after the appointment, he's now saying that he will not pay any service charges because I failed to comply with a section 20 notice under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

 

I went back over how I conducted the consultations and noticed that I did indeed fail to comply with stage one of the section 20 by not issuing a letter of intention. Instead, I jumped to stage two where I issued a notice providing 3 agents with quotes as well as inviting the other two come up with their own nominations.

 

As contracts have now been signed and the new agent has firmly established himself, how do resolve this problem?

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Hi, on the one hand it's good to hear that you feel your new Agent is doing a great job :)

 

On the other, I'm a little worried that your Agent appears to have possibly missed something here - which could, potentially, raise other issues and leave you liable :( I'm typing at speed here, but hopefully the following will help...

 

I'm taking a slightly different tack, but one that may assist.

 

First, go back to basics here, in terms of checking your lease, to determine where your responsibilities actually lie, if you haven't already.

 

Also, have a read though http://www.arma.org.uk/doc/public/AppMApdf.pdf as you may find that helpful too (recall CAG doesn't usually like links, but hope that one is acceptable). I've not read it in awhile and there are other sources of information too, not least of all CAG :), but that may be enough for starters.

 

In return, could you please let me know your

 

- Agents fee here and

- the % apportionment as set out in your lease.

- If you have their terms and conditions then that would be incredibly helpful too.

 

PM all this to me if you prefer - anything you PM me will only be used to assist you and will not be forwarded to any third party without our prior approval.

 

I mention all this, for IF the lease allows the recover of such costs and IF you are entitled to appoint an Agent, the AGENT should be assisting YOU here - and one way they 'could' have helped out at the outset was to ensure, say, that their contract with you was for a year, less one day i.e. to simply help avoid s20 issues, as such.

 

I'd be a little concerned if they have not done so, as small Agents, through to the big boys tend to use this approach... which, as I say, potentially raises other issues for you with regards your own Agent. For instance, are they an Estate Agent/Letting Agent dabbling with 'block management'? I ask, as I have seen this elsewhere, just as Estate Agents first dabbled with Lettings some years back...

 

Anyway, it could be very useful for you if you first, discretely, review where you are with your Agent, before you tackle your neighbour. I'm happy to help out where I can. PM me what you can and will gladly review.

 

If you are then still happy with your Agent, who knows, once you have checked the facts you might be able to do them a favour in return i.e. arrange for a fresh contract for a year less one day and then - so long as the lease allows - your neighbour might be in a for a shock, sorry, meant to say then 'contribute for the proper running of your building'!

 

As I say, typed at haste, but hope that helps.

Edited by NewSAHD
typo

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Thanks for your reply which was very helpful. I have already spoken to the new agent who has tried to reassure me that an s20 was not necessary. He confirmed that the contract is for 1 year less one day. It is a 12 month rolling contract. He charges £1000 per unit (£3000 for the whole property). I don't have the apportionments at hand but I believe they are fairly even as each property is similar in size.

Edited by fullsteam

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Hi, glad it helped...

 

In that case - and on the face of it - it seems that this is an issue for your Agent to pursue, rather than for you to have the worry, at least for now :) You are paying them, after all!

 

If you are happy to do so send me your Agent's details and terms of conditons (PM is fine, if you cannot attach documents, no worries, I've sent you a PM anyway) and will have a look through later, as off out now

 

I would add that the Agent's fee doesn't have to be the cheapest, but it does have to be 'reasonable' - otherwise you leave yourself open to an application to the LVT (Leasehold Valuation Tribunal) by your neighbour. That said, YOU/your Agent can use the LVT to determine that the service charge costs/fees are reasonable, if you can, to help recover the same from your neighbour.

 

We'd need to know what IS included in the fee of £3000 though, as I know of experienced Agents who would, arguably, charge less for dealing with larger buildings than yours - but, every building is different and an ostensibly high fee might well be justified due to the Agents terms and conditions, what other items they charge/don't charge, the type and/or location of building, and myriad other factors. That said, £3000 for managing the common parts of a three unit building (unless in certain parts of the UK :) ) seems, well :( Rather not say here, but hopefully you get the picture...

 

Need to be careful with the contract, it really should be a year less a day too, otherwise s20 is likely to apply...


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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My CAG intray is full, so cannot send any PM's at the moment - I'm off out in the real world now, so will clear the messages out later and hope to write again later tonight. Sorry about that though!


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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The building is in the heart of London in a relatively nice area where everything is expensive.

 

I have terms and conditions in hard copy only and there are dozens of pages.

 

I'm not sure how to send you a private message on this system.

Edited by fullsteam

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Left click my user name ('NewSAHD' in the left hand column) and a separate dialogue box should appear - click Private Message and that should then take you to a new page, from where you can send a PM. In the meantime I'll drop you a PM under separate cover.

Edited by NewSAHD
typo

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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