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Freehold Property Management Company Dispute


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Hi

 

I bought my house in 2010 and as part of this we have a Management Company for various service charges as the house, along with five others and a block of flats is part of the same development.

 

As part of the Service Management charge myself and 3 others pay for the maintenance and insurance of a seperate sewage pump. This has worked out to be approx £200 per annum.

 

Recently the sewage pump became blocked which meant one of the houses had their toilets and sinks overflow. Today I received a bill for nearly £400 to fix the blockage and for a maintenance contract for the up keep of the sewage pump.

 

The insurance we had for the pump is void as it turns out the pump has not been serviced, even though we have paid for the maintenance of this.

 

The Property Management Company who is currently looking after the developments only took over in May 2011. Prior to this it was two owners of the houses who managed this.

 

Myself and another resident have requested that we recieve all the accounts since the development was built to understand where our maintenance charges have gone, where the £800 contingency fund has gone and where the £5000 profit which was made last year has gone.

 

The current Management company are refusing to get the pump fixed until we pay the £400 and are refusing to have a meeting to discuss the matter.

 

Is there anything we can do legally about this? Is it right that we have been paying our Maintenance Charge and that because the previous Management company didn't maintain the pump correctly, we should then pay out this money?

 

Any advice would be greatfully received.

 

Thanks

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Hi

 

Thank you for the reply.

Yes - I have checked all my documents and I have been paying for "Insurance and Maintenance of the sewage pump". We have been told the insurance is void because the pump was not serviced. We have been told it was not serviced by the company who the Management company have emplyed to rectify the problem.

I have requested the accounts to see how much I have paid in the Service Charge and have also requested a copy of the insurance document and yes - quite rightly - details of any service carried out.

 

Thank you for your advice, I will look into it.

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Hi there.

 

As Leaseholders you have many rights regarding service charges and it isnt unusual for unscrupulous Freeholders and/or management Companies to rip off the leaseholders.

 

Most of your rights can be found in Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 > http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70

 

and Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 > http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/15/contents

 

The Leasehold Advisory Site is a great site for free info > http://www.lease-advice.org/default2.asp

 

Basically the freeholder can onmly recover money he has actually paid, (I.e if he charged for maintanence on sewage pipe he must of done the work !), likewise it sounds like he is liable if the insurance was void because of hi inaction.

 

Find a copy of your lease, see what his repair obligations are, it is possible to sue him for breach of covenant (i.e, he is obliged to repair sewage pipe, but didnt).

 

He probably isnt allowed to not repair untill you pay him, most lease say he MUST do the repairs and its not conditional on being paid), again, read your lease.

 

You can apply to an Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (a special court) which decides on service charge matters, see > http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/courts-and-tribunals/tribunals/residential-property/#leasehold from what you say, you may have a strong case and he could be forced to refund you.

 

Any questions, feel free to ask

 

Andy

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Hi

 

Thank you for getting back to me. The issue I have when researching this is that all the information I can find is for leashold's, however I own my property as do the other 3 houses who are involved in this...

 

Is there anywhere where I can find out what my rights are and what the Property Management Company are legally obliged to do for a freehold such as us?

 

Thanks

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Hi. Are you not a leaseholder ?

 

Leaseholders own their flats too !. For example, my property is a building with 2 flats in it, I own one flat, my neighbour owns the other but the actual land and building is owned by the freeholder (who in turn employs a management company), we effectively rent or lease the property but for a long period (its normally between 199 - 999 years) hence the term 'long leaseholder'.

 

It is possible that the above doesnt apply then maybe the standard L & T laws dont apply but there must be some sort of contractual provision between you and the management company.

 

You mention freehold, but who is the freeholder (or do you each invidually own the fh for each property, and if so, where does the management company come into it ?).

 

Andy

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