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developer threatening to sue


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Our maintenance manager is threatening to sue me for an unpaid maintenance bill. I have disputed this bill since I received it in early January, but I have never received any documents to support the bill he claims. I have already offered a part settlement of the bill based on the parts of it that are not in dispute, but he is insisting that the whole of the bill be settled. He has given me six days to pay up. I received the email this evening and he wants the money on 21st april. Our contract that we signed when we bought our house, (freehold), said that any disputes would be resolved by the RICS. The dispute is over broken parts from a pump. He refuses to show me any documentation relating to the pump, he simply tells me that the pump was out of warranty and I have to pay. I have always been reasonable with him, but he hasn't been reasonable with me.

 

Do I call his bluff and let him issue proceedings? As I'm sure he will.

 

Can I use CPR rules as it seems to be going that way? How do I find out if the court has jurisdiction??

 

All views greatly appreciated

I have had personal dealings in the areas I comment on, however, I am not a lawyer. Any advice I give is without prejudice and is merely my opinion based on the information I have gleaned from my experiences, understanding and interpretation of the law. You should always seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.

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CPR 31.16 applies if he is going to issue proceedings in the county court. It is the duty of parties to try to mediate prior to the issue of proceedings. Could affect costs decisions etc.

 

But if RICS applies, as per your contract, this is the route he must follow I would have thought.

 

What's the pump for anyway?

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It is the duty of parties to try to mediate prior to the issue of proceedings. Could affect costs decisions etc.

I quite agree, I have offered to settle part of the bill, but he's being unreasonable.

 

 

The pump is for taking the foul water up to the mains sewer. Repairs had to be made to a float three months after we moved in, (it was a brand new house). I assumed it was under guarantee, but no, he billed us for the repair rather than getting a new one under warranty. I have simply asked to see evidence that the pumping station was operational one year before the breakdown occurred. He will not provide me with this, therefore I dispute that aprt of the bill.

 

Is that so unreasonable??

I have had personal dealings in the areas I comment on, however, I am not a lawyer. Any advice I give is without prejudice and is merely my opinion based on the information I have gleaned from my experiences, understanding and interpretation of the law. You should always seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.

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The difference we are talking about is £180. The bill is £375, and I've already offered him £195, but he sent it back.

I'm disputing the repairs, and the increased maintenance account charge, (he upped it from £395 to £495, because he had to 'prove' his bills to us, only to find out they were wrong!) Still wanted to charge us even though we pointed out the errors in our bill.

 

I've offered to pay something, just not all. If it goes to court, that's more time wasted etc etc, and we still might not get an answer.

I have had personal dealings in the areas I comment on, however, I am not a lawyer. Any advice I give is without prejudice and is merely my opinion based on the information I have gleaned from my experiences, understanding and interpretation of the law. You should always seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.

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It sounds to me as if you are doing everything correctly. he is an idiot to refuse part payment. He could have mitigated his losses and accepted the money on account.

he is wrong not to let you have the paperwork and he will have to show it to the court.

You have no risk of costs here - except the court fee. I would call his bluff if I were you and let him sue.

Make sure that you have everything in writing - that you tried to pay part and that he has refused to account for the money etc.

I don't think that a judge will have much sympathy with him

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Thankyou Bankfodder, it's nice to be re-assured that what you are doing is right and reasonable. I am posting up a copy of the letter he will receive first thing tomorrow, (by bicycle to save on costs).

acerbic letter to 15th apr 2011.doc

I have had personal dealings in the areas I comment on, however, I am not a lawyer. Any advice I give is without prejudice and is merely my opinion based on the information I have gleaned from my experiences, understanding and interpretation of the law. You should always seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.

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Just a quick update, I went to the developer's house on Saturday morning and hand-delivered my letter. I got a hand written receipt from him as well, (wasn't easy though, had to threaten to record the whole thing on my mobile).

In the post today was a letter from him, and also a credit note for the unpaid items on account.

I don't know what made him change his stance, but I don't really care.

 

Drinking a small glass of wine to celebrate

I have had personal dealings in the areas I comment on, however, I am not a lawyer. Any advice I give is without prejudice and is merely my opinion based on the information I have gleaned from my experiences, understanding and interpretation of the law. You should always seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.

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  • 2 years later...

Roll on two years.....

 

Now the developer has issued a claim against me. I intend to fully dispute the claim. The date of service is today, 3rd May so I have a little time to get things together.

He is claiming £265 for what he states in the POC as

"charges incurred by our company on behalf of the residents of XXX which is a private road owned by our company. There are clauses in the sales contract for each property which allows us to pass on the charges and make a charge for management costs. The 10 other residents have settled their accounts in full."

 

Right, so let me just say that the accounting system he uses is a mess, so I need to show that in court. But what I am looking for is a bit of help to really nail this once and for all. I can show the court that I have paid all charges in full EXCEPT his management charges. I am not paying any management charges because,

1) He has raised the management fee for the 11 properties from £395 to £695. Now obviously I only pay one eleventh of that, but our clause in our sales contract he talks about states that all charges should be reasonable. The reason he raised the charge was to recuperate money he lost taking another resident to court for a similar matter.

 

He has deliberately mixed up the payments I have made and apportioned them to the wrong bills, making it look like I haven't paid one of the at all.

The accounts that he has submitted in his POC are different to the ones he has given me.

 

How do I get back the money I am going to lose in defending this? Do I just ask the Judge to award costs, or do I have to counter-claim?

 

In short, I have paid my share of pumping station charges and electricity, but owing to the 40% rise in management charges and no justification or reasonable excuse for it, I haven't paid any management fees.

 

If anyone could help, I'd be very grateful.

I have had personal dealings in the areas I comment on, however, I am not a lawyer. Any advice I give is without prejudice and is merely my opinion based on the information I have gleaned from my experiences, understanding and interpretation of the law. You should always seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.

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