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    • Also, in respect of these recent developments concerning the rights of leaseholders and their lessors, I haven't followed it too closely, but aren't you mixing up service charges on one hand with ground rent. I do understand that it seems that landlords are pretty unfettered in terms of the level of ground rent they can apply – but I would have thought that service charges – which represent actual expenditure have to be accounted for. Have I got this wrong?
    • Thank you for all of this information. However, I can imagine that most people won't be able to go through it all – partly because there is so much of it but also because it is presented in a tightly packed block of text. It would be much easier if you would space it properly so that it was presented more accessible way – but then put into a PDF document which could be uploaded onto the forum. That means that people could have a look at it by downloading it and then sizing it to suit their own computer screen and their own convenience. I did ask you how much you had paid in the first cheque which was eventually returned to you – and I'm not sure that you have answered this question yet. If they come round to issuing a claim against you, it could be very important to know this. If you have answered this question already then I'm afraid it's lost in the large bulk of the information you have provided.  
    • FREEHOLDERS BE AWARE!   I have discovered the answer to my question - please read because anyone else out there - until this legal loophole is changed take great care before thinking you will have justice regarding leashold overcharging. Most leases check yours! have a clause whereby they can charge the leasholder whether they win or loose. So like Mr Barclay you might, even if you win the case, have to pay the freeholders legal charges! Criminal ! I am so pleased i spotted this before I defended myself against the unjust bills.    Put simply until the law changes (especially if you are non residential and have no tier tribunal) there is no facility to challenge unreasonable leasehold charges.   Leaseholders to benefit from closure of legal loophole According to figures in The Times 5.3 million (21%) homes in England and Wales are leasehold, meaning the property is not owned outright but is instead ‘leased’ from the freeholder, typically for a lengthy term.   In a leasehold arrangement there will usually be a contract between leaseholder and freeholder which sets out the legal rights and responsibilities of each party. Generally these will be that the freeholder maintains the common parts of the building and the leaseholder pays maintenance fees, service charges and a portion of the buildings insurance.   But what happens if there is a dispute as to those fees or some other matter?   Currently if a leasehold property owner takes the freehold owner of the building to court, a legal loophole means they could be burdened with the opposing party’s legal costs – even if the leaseholder wins. The legal bills involved can amount to tens of thousands of pounds, adding a sting in the tail to any victory.   However, after the Sunday Times launched an investigation and uncovered legal bills being levied of up to £60,000, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire MP has pledged to take action and close the loophole.   The loophole is contained in the majority of leases which typically allow freeholders to recoup their legal costs from leaseholders, even if the freeholder loses the case. There is no parallel right for leaseholders to claim costs back.   The Times reported that last year leasehold owner Richard Barclay successfully recovered £1,200 of a £10,100 service charge from the management company in respect of his central London Flat. But the victory soon turned sour when Barclay was hit with a bill for £61,300 in legal fees by Quadrant Property Management who takes care of the building.   Barclay challenged the costs and the bankruptcy court reduced these by £12,500, but tribunal has ruled that all other costs being challenged are reasonable.   Back in 2015, a similar situation arose when the leasehold owners of 30 flats in West London took the freeholder to court and won a £29,000 discount off their service bill. The managing agent’s bill for legal fees in that case amounted to more than £44,000.   According to the Times, in 2014 / 2015 A2Dominion housing association who managed the block charged its leaseholders £24,167 for legal costs. One year after, FirstPort billed leaseholders of the wider estate £20,160 for what was thought to be the same legal costs.   The Times further reports that in 2017, two leaseholders took A2Dominion to tribunal regarding £12,500 claimed through their service charges for roof repairs. Those costs could have been recouped instead through the buildings insurance policy. This time the money was refunded just before the hearing – but this time the tribunal banned the association from issuing the claimants with a legal bill.   When presented with the details of two of these cases, James Brokenshire responded by stating: “It is the secretary of state’s intention to close the legal loopholes that allow freeholders to unjustifiably recoup legal costs from leaseholders. This will form part of our broader package of leaseholder reforms. We will do this as soon as parliamentary time allows.”   His promise is one of a number put forward by the government – it has also pledged to ban the sale of new build leasehold homes, and to cap ground rents on new leases.   t believes: “… when someone buys a house, it should feel truly their own. House buyers should not be faced with a depreciating lease or a ground rent charge for any other purpose than to pay for the privilege of living in the house they havealready bought.” (October 2018 Consultation)   The Law Commission is currently conducting three sub consultations in this area and the reforms are likely to follow their completion. These are: ·        Leasehold enfranchisement ·        Right to Manage ·        Commonhold   James Brokenshire said he wanted a leasehold market where people were able to challenge. He showed concern for  an inequality of arms that was preventing people from getting the outcomes, fairness and justice that they require.   What can I do if I have a dispute? The first place to look if you have a dispute regarding a charge is your lease. You can only be charged for items listed in the lease so if, for example, there’s no mention of management fees or the cost of improvements, you won’t be liable. If you’re not sure whether your lease allows the charges you’re disputing, ask a solicitor to check it for you.   If you’ve received a service charge demand, check it carefully. It should state the name and address of the landlord at the top (not the managing agent, unless they are also the landlord). The exception to this is if the managing agent is a party to the lease. It should also contain a summary of your rights and obligations which can be found here.   If you believe the certain items are excessive, request a summary that shows how the charge has been worked out and what it will be spent on, with receipts. The freeholder cannot refuse to supply this – to do so can attract a £2,500 fine.   If an item seems too high, get comparable quotes. This will help you demonstrate that the same services could be provided at a significant cost saving. By law the landlord must behave in a ‘reasonable’ manner with regard to its expenditure on the building.   Whilst there is no duty to minimise costs, service charges must be ‘reasonable’ and where the charges relate to works or services, the works or services must be completed to a reasonable standard.   Before you consider making a challenge, speak to neighbours who are in the same boat. They may consider bringing the challenge with you.   You should not stop paying the charges. Instead, write to the management company and provide evidence such as quotations to show that the charges are not reasonable. A solicitor’s letter may carry more weight, particularly as it can set out in legal terms the landlord’s duties regarding charges.   If the management company does not agree with your challenge, mediation may be a good way to resolve the dispute. This involves sitting down with the other party and trying to find a way forward, with the help of a trained mediator. It is typically far cheaper than litigation.   Another option may be to take over the right to manage the development. Speak to a solicitor about whether this may be possible.   The final option is to apply to the first-tier tribunal (England) or the leasehold valuation tribunal (Wales) for a ruling on whether the fees are payable. There’s a £100 application fee and £200 hearing fee in England, or a £50 – £350 application fee and a hearing fee in Wales.   If you are successful, you can ask the tribunal to limit the landlord’s ability to recover its legal costs through the service charge. However, they don’t have to agree to this and you may face a substantial charge.
    • I think you could usefully telephone the Sunderland County Court during the week – maybe Wednesday to find out the progress of the warrant and what date they imagine that they are going to go round and execute it. They might also tell you whether they are preparing to make a visit or whether they are going to do it by letter initially. This kind of information is available – because about 10 years or so ago, we sent the bailiffs into the Royal Bank of Scotland in Camden Town and we managed to get the data in advance and we had the press waiting to report.     https://www.standard.co.uk/hp/front/customer-sends-bailiffs-in-to-seize-bank-s-computers-7197321.html oh how we laughed    
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    • Hi @BankFodder
      Sorry for only updating you now, but after your guidance with submitting the claim it was pretty straight forward and I didn't want to unnecessarily waste your time. Especially with this guide you wrote here, so many thanks for that
      So I issued the claim on day 15 and they requested more time to respond.
      They took until the last day to respond and denied the claim, unsurprisingly saying my contract was with Packlink and not with them.
       
      I opted for mediation, and it played out very similarly to other people's experiences.
       
      In the first call I outlined my case, and I referred to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 as the reason to why I do in fact have a contract with them. 
       
      In the second call the mediator came back with an offer of the full amount of the phone and postage £146.93, but not the court costs. I said I was not willing to accept this and the mediator came across as a bit irritated that I would not accept this and said I should be flexible. I insisted that the law was on my side and I was willing to take them to court. The mediator went back to Hermes with what I said.
       
      In the third call the mediator said that they would offer the full amount. However, he said that Hermes still thought that I should have taken the case against Packlink instead, and that they would try to recover the court costs themselves from Packlink.
       
      To be fair to them, if Packlink wasn't based in Spain I would've made the claim against them instead. But since they are overseas and the law lets me take action against Hermes directly, it's the best way of trying to recover the money.
       
      So this is a great win. Thank you so much for your help and all of the resources available on this site. It has helped me so much especially as someone who does not know anything about making money claims.
       
      Many thanks, stay safe and have a good Christmas!
       
       
        • Thanks
    • Hermes and mediation hints. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428981-hermes-and-mediation-hints/&do=findComment&comment=5080003
      • 1 reply
    • Natwest Bank Transfer Fraud Call HMRC Please help. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428951-natwest-bank-transfer-fraud-call-hmrc-please-help/&do=findComment&comment=5079786
      • 31 replies
    • Hermes lost parcel.. Read more at https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/422615-hermes-lost-parcel/
      • 49 replies

PCN Number? - Private Parking Company


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Hiya, I received this PCN from a private company (or so I imagine). At top it reads, "Managed on behalf of Topher Limited, Company Reg No. 6126075". Does that make Topher Ltd. the issuer? Anyway, it's £30 if I pay within 14 days (got it two days ago) which I have no problem paying. (Third time in the last two years now! First time from a private company.) The reason for issue is ticked under 'Other' with 'LEFT ESTATE' as the reason. Yeah, I like to use this one car park as my local parking spot... Anyway, I go to pay for it online via 'paymypcn.net', but I don't know what the PCN Number is supposed to be. On the notice, at the bottom, it reads: Notice No: [LETTER] [4-DIGIT-NUMBER] (I left out the actual digits, for safety.) I bash that in but it apparently is incorrect. The example given on the website is also a 11-digit number, which I cannot find anywhere on the notice. Help? I've also read people just avoid these private PCNs, which I can do, but I don't think any future hassle is worth the £30, lol. Thanks for reading! EDIT: No idea why it appears all in one paragraph, sorry about that. I did type it out with line breaks. :(

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It is NOT a PCN (Penalty Charge NOtice) as issued by councils. It is a trumped up invoice by a Private Parking Company, dressed up to look like a PCN (they even call it a Parking Charge NOtice so that they can abbrieviate it to the same PCN letters).

 

Why are you even attempting to pay it? Read around the forum to find out what you should be doing with their charge (which is absolutely NOTHING)

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Before we go on, are you 100% sure it's a private company from the info I have given you. It does read (in red block of white text) Parking Charge Notice, so I believe you are correct. If I do nothing, won't they just harass me? I'll read the threads now.

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Does it mention the legislation it is being issued under at the top (for example the Road Traffic Act)? My guess is no. The fact that it isn't called a Penalty Charge Notice is a bit of a giveaway that its a private invoice, not a real parking ticket. You should ignore this ticket, and ignore all the follow up threatening letters no matter how scary. The facts are that they are entitled to their actual losses only, which is a damn sight less than £30. Do not contact them, ignore all correspondence from them.

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Just says "The vehicle shown below has contravened the terms and conditions of use for this car park and therefore is liable to a parking charge of £65.00". Then in small print the reduced amount if paid within a fortnight. I don't mind ignoring, as long as I don't need to go to court (even if I can't lose). That's when it gets 'too much hassle' in my book, which I rather avoid. Thanks. EDIT: I don't read these signs, so not sure what the sign board reads either. :3

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Just says "The vehicle shown below has contravened the terms and conditions of use for this car park and therefore is liable to a parking charge of £65.00&amp". Then in small print the reduced amount if paid within a fortnight. I don't mind ignoring, as long as I don't need to go to court (even if I can't lose). That's when it gets 'too much hassle' in my book, which I rather avoid. Thanks. EDIT: I don't read these signs, so not sure what the sign board reads either. :3

 

At the end of the day it's your choice whether you pay or not. You came here to ask our advice and we have given it. A private company cannot recover a fine or penalty through the courts because they have no legal authority to issue either. They have issued what we call a speculative invoice or what they call a Parking Charge Notice. What they can claim is losses or damages they have incurred by you parking there. For example, if you parked there for 2 hours but only paid for one, they could take you to court for the amount of money that extra hour would of earned them. If however the parking is free, then they can recover zero. If they are issuing a 'charge' because you have 'contravened' their terms and conditions, then they are, in effect, issuing a penalty. Also any action they take must be against the person who 'entered' into their 'contract' (i.e. the driver). You as the RK will be the one who will get all the threat-o-grams but that doesn't necessarily mean you were the driver. You have no legal obligation what so ever to furnish them with any information which identifies the driver.

 

The threat-o-grams will threaten all sorts including the POSSIBILITY of court action.

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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Thanks. Yeah, I've read all that. But I still believe it's not worth it at the moment. I have way too many things going on in life right now for me to deal with this too. I'm just going to pay up. Maybe next time, I'll play around with this mob, just for laughs. :D I didn't come here for advice... had that settled in mind. I actually came to ask where the hell I can find this PCN Number for their website. But I guess I will have to phone them instead. Thanking you again.

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I've also read people just avoid these private PCNs, which I can do, but I don't think any future hassle is worth the £30, lol.

 

All you need to do is ignore the 5 or 6 letters you will get. Don't be frightened by them and don't reply to them. Just bin them. Nothing will happen to you.

 

If doing that's going to leave you £30 better off than if you pay, it has to be worth it. Or, if you like, send me £30 and I'll ignore them for you!

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All you need to do is ignore the 5 or 6 letters you will get. Don't be frightened by them and don't reply to them. Just bin them. Nothing will happen to you.

 

If doing that's going to leave you £30 better off than if you pay, it has to be worth it. Or, if you like, send me £30 and I'll ignore them for you!

 

Isn't there some chance of me being called to court though? I think that's the main problem for me. Also, how do they 'stop'. I doubt they say 'Okay, we give up, you win, sir.' They just stop posting?

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They just stop posting. They don't send the last 'OK, you win' letter, that would blow their cover.

 

Gotcha, can you comment on the court issue then? There is some chance of me being called up, isn't there?

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Take you to court for what? Not giving them money you never owed them in the first place? See ManxRed's post number 8. If he sticks a bill on your car for £10,000 for breaking one of his rules which he made up, do you think he could sue you too?

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Take you to court for what? Not giving them money you never owed them in the first place? See ManxRed's post number 8. If he sticks a bill on your car for £10,000 for breaking one of his rules which he made up, do you think he could sue you too?

 

When you guys say I never 'owed them', what do you mean, exactly? If the board reads that I will be charged, isn't that enough for them to charge me? I'm assuming not. Then what is the purpose of them then? Just to scare folks and see if they pay up? The car park is free, but I did leave the area for a couple of hours btw. so I do feel I abused their 'offer'. So, I gather there will be no hearing in courts then? If that is 99% guaranteed, I am fine to ignore it. Danke!

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When you guys say I never 'owed them', what do you mean, exactly? If the board reads that I will be charged, isn't that enough for them to charge me? I'm assuming not. Then what is the purpose of them then? Just to scare folks and see if they pay up? The car park is free, but I did leave the area for a couple of hours btw. so I do feel I abused their 'offer'. So, I gather there will be no hearing in courts then? If that is 99% guaranteed, I am fine to ignore it. Danke!

 

They can sue you for losses or damages but not for a penalty. If the carpaking was free, what were their losses?

Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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They can sue you for losses or damages but not for a penalty. If the carpaking was free, what were their losses?

 

I guess you are right. If they do somehow find out who the driver was, what then? Does it change anything? What if they call me, and ask for driver details? How do I decline to give it to them without sounding shady? When then 'debt collection' papers start coming in, do I just do the same, and ignore?

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I guess you are right. If they do somehow find out who the driver was, what then? Does it change anything? What if they call me, and ask for driver details? How do I decline to give it to them without sounding shady? When then 'debt collection' papers start coming in, do I just do the same, and ignore?

 

You seem to be taking this company much too seriously. They are not the police or the council , but just a private company with no more right than you or me to demand such information off another person.

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You seem to be taking this company much too seriously. They are not the police or the council , but just a private company with no more right than you or me to demand such information off another person.

 

Okay, thanks. It's settled then, I shall ignore their letters! Another query, I see people suggest templates when appealing. When are these appeals viable? the people who are ignoring can't also be appealing, surely, so who benefit for appealing? Just curious.

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Hello there.

 

If you appeal, they won't uphold it, but will think you could be talked into coughing up money you don't need to pay them, because you've entered into correspondence. If this ever happens to me, I certainly won't be writing.

 

How are they going to find out who's the driver? All they can get is the name of the registered keeper from the DVLA. Unless you tell them of course, but I really hope you're not thinking of doing that.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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The best advice is not to appeal. For a start it's not an independent process. It's done "in house" and so it's in the company's interest to refuse all "appeals", otherwise they never make any money. Secondly, once you start writing to them they think they have got a hooked fish and will only bombard you with even more stupid letters.

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Any 'appeal' shows them you are concerned. So might attract a few more letters than those who just ignore everything.

 

An 'appeal' might also reveal who was the driver or an address not held by DVLA.

Knowing the driver's identity changes little - their loss is the same.

It just removes one of the many difficulties they face.

 

There is no obligation for a Registered Keeper to reveal a Driver to anyone except to the Police and a Local Authority.

 

So they can do nothing. Just like we advise you to do!!!!

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Thanks all. I get the drift now. It's funny how we assume they hold the same power as the council do just because of their similar actions and approach. And what about the debt collectors (lol, what debt!?) letters, just ignore and burn as usual? Okay, why don't they ask the police for some assitance then? :o

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When you guys say I never 'owed them', what do you mean, exactly? If the board reads that I will be charged, isn't that enough for them to charge me? I'm assuming not. Then what is the purpose of them then? Just to scare folks and see if they pay up? The car park is free, but I did leave the area for a couple of hours btw. so I do feel I abused their 'offer'. So, I gather there will be no hearing in courts then? If that is 99% guaranteed, I am fine to ignore it. Danke!

 

The idea of the notice board is that you read the terms and conditions and consent to them by parking. Thus, you have entered into a contract.

 

There are valid clauses in a contract, and there are invalid ones. For example, if it had a clause which said, "failure to display a ticket authorises us to shoot you" that would be invalid. Regardless of the contract, it would be against the law and the law takes precendence.

 

In this situation, it is against the law for any private person or company to issue penalty charges - which is just another word for fines. They have no right to do that, so that clause in the contract is invalid.

 

If you have genuinely breached contract, then their redress is to sue you for their financial losses resulting from the breach of contract - which, especially in a free car park, is nothing. They can sue you for nothing.

 

Hope that makes it clearer why you don't owe them, you never owed them, and they can't make you pay.

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