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Liability to Professional Costs relating to collecting service charge arrears incurred by another flat


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Hi All,

 

Hoping you could offer some opinions on our situation.

Last year we moved from our flat to the house we now own. Our solicitor informed the Managing agents of our flat (the flat was one of two in a house that were leasehold properties - the managing agents charged us a ground rent and service charges), who in turn sent us a bill for the 2010 year. Included in this was an amount totalling £350 for ' Professional costs in respect of collection of service charge arrears Flat B’- this being the other flat. As we were not responsible for this I phoned to complain and was told they were legally entitled to charge this to both flats under the terms of the leasehold.

I rang a Legal Advice line (offered as part of my partners work) who confirmed my suspicions that this is not the case. Further advice also suggested this would only apply if it explicitly stated in the lease that these kind of charges should be split between the two flats. Looking through our lease it makes no mention of that.

As this was potentially going to be holding up our flat sale we made full payment for the amount outstanding, but following our solicitors advice did so with an accompanying letter stating that our payment was 'WITHOUT PREJUDICE to the position that we maintain about the legality of the charge' further stating that we reserved the right to pursue this matter in the small claims court post completion.

This is now what I am planning on doing and I've drafted a 'Notice before Action' letter that I plan on sending shortly before I begin the claim for the apportioned amount of £175.

 

Does my understanding following advice and opinion from others ring true? Should we have been liable for costs incurred in chasing up payments from the other flat - this seems amazingly unfair, but nothing would surprise me.

 

Grateful to hear of any opinions on this.

 

Thanks

Edited by AdtheBad
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