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Court summons for unpaid service charge please help!!

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Hi All

just been served with a county court summons for unpaid service charges.

The original request for my service charge was in June 2016 for £1149.51

 

As I was not in a position to pay in full as I am a single parent who has been made redundant,

I offered monthly installments of £100.

This was rejected and I was given a proposal to pay £250 pm or ask my mortgage provider to pay on my behalf.

 

By beginning of August,

following 2 reminder letters they had charged fees of £30 admin fee and £150 debt referral fee to Property Debt Company.

I requested they send me the form for me to request my mortgage company to make payment on my behalf.

I then stupidly never sent the request off to my mortgage company so the service charge has not been settled.

 

 

Then this December I received court documents from the county court money centre demanding payment.

 

I have sent the acknowledgement of service off to give me some time to prepare my Defence.

In the AOS I said I ticked the box that admits you owe part of the debt.

 

I readily admit liability of the original service charge.

However I'm horrified at the amount now being claimed.

 

It is broken down as

1339.51. Subtotal

180. Pdc fee

720. Additional costs

115 court fee

80 legal representative fee

 

Total 2434.51 !!!!!!!!

 

Could I please ask your advice for the best way to handle/settle this.

 

Do you think I should contact my mortgage company in the first instance to request they pay the original service charge amount and in my defence, state that I believe the debt has been settled?

 

How can I defend myself against these costs?

I believe they are extremely unreasonable after just 3 letters to request payment.

 

Finally I'm desperate not to incur a ccj.

...after years of bad credit,

I've finally cleaned up and I would hate for this to put me back to square one.

 

Any advice would gladly and gratefully be received.

 

Thanks so much

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woops you admitted the debt

so ccj by default now I am afraid.

 

 

can you fill this out please.

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?419198-You-have-received-a-Claim-What-you-need-to-do.-**UPDATED-2016**


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urm..having read your older threads

it seems you've had experience of finding out the hard way already that its not a good idea to admit to anything when you get a court form

but you've done the same thing again this time... ...sad you didn't come here first or learn/remember from your past experiences

 

 

never mind well get you through this one

but we need info please

get that link filled in ASAP

so we can limit/prevent the damage you might have already done....


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Thank you here is the info

 

In order for us to help you we require the following information:-

 

Name of the Claimant ? PROPERTY DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY

 

Date of issue – 2nd Deceber 2016

 

What is the claim for – PARTICULARS OF CLAIM

 

1. In these Particulars of Claim the following meanings apply

 

'The Property' means the property known as (my address) which is registered with the leasehold title at h.m land registry under title number xxxx. Marked exhibit A

 

'The Lease' means the lease dated 28th March 2001 made between

1)Weston homes Plc,

2) Regents court management limited

3) names of previous owners for a term of 125 years in respect of the property.

A copy of the lease is attached to the particulars of claim marked exhibit b.

 

'The Service Charge Provision' means the provision in the Lease requiring the lessee to pay service charge by clauses 5.7.3 and 5.7.4 of the lease.

 

 

In accordance with the general scheme of the benefit of the Landlord of the Company and the Tenants of the Estate the Tenant covenants with the Landlord the Company and the Tenants for the time being of the other parts of the Estate

 

 

and with each of them that the Tenant will on 1 April each year the Tenant shall pay to the Company such sum in advance and on account of all costs charged and expenses incurred or to. E incurred by the Company in performing and carrying out the obligations and each of them under schedule 4 as the Company or the Company's agents shall from time to time specify as a reasonable estimate of such costs charged and expended

 

and if no such sum is specified by 31 March in each year the Tenant shall pay to the Company the same amount as was payable in advance in respect to the preceding year AND pay such sums or amounts referred to in Clause 5.7.2 and 5.7.3 by way of bank mandate (incorporating standing order or direct debitlink3.gif) if so requested by the Company or any Managing Agent or Agents appointed by the Company.

 

Additionally, by paragraph 1.1.17 of the particulars in the lease: the Tenants Proportion means 4.166%.

 

'The Cost Provision' Means the provision in the Lease requiring the lessee to pay costs as a consequence of the aforementioned breach by clause 4.3 of the Lease:

 

The Tenant covenants with the landlord and as a separate covenant with the Company:

To pay all costs charges and expenses ( including Solicitors costs and Surveyors fees) incurred by the landlord for the purpose of or incidental to the preparation and service of a notice under section 146 and 147 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (including any such fees payable in respect of the preparation and service of any schedule of dilapidations) notwithstanding that forfeiture may be avoided otherwise than by relief granted by the Court.

 

The Mortgagee means (name of my mortgagelink3.gif company)

 

Managing Agent means (name of my property management company)

 

The Professional debt collectionlink3.gif Agency means Property Debt Collection ltd of (address)

 

2. The Claimant is the Management Company with the responsibility for administering the services and raising Service Charge demands in accordance with the Service Charge Provisions in the Lease.

 

3. In accordance with the tema of the Lease the Claimant made proper demand on the Defendant via the Managing Agent for payment of the Service Charge due to the Claimant under the Service Charge Provisions.

 

4. As Lessee, the Defendant covenanted to comply with the Service Charge Provisions in the Lease.

 

5. In breach of the terms of the Lease, the Defendant has failed to pay money due under the service charge provisions in the lease. There is attached to these Particulars of Claim as exhibit C a statement of arrears showing the arrears due including interest.

 

6. In breach of the Service Charge Provisions the Managing Agent instructs Professional Debt Collections Agency (PDC) to act on behalf of the Claimant. The PDC has written to the defendant demanding payment of the outstanding service charge together with its administration fees of £180.

 

7. The property is subject to a mortgagelink3.gif in favor of the Mortgagee who has been invited to discharge the arrears in order to remedy the breach of the Lease and thereby avoid prejudice to their security.

The mortgagee will not make payment on behalf of the defendant until a judgement has been obtained satisfying section 81 of the housing act 1996.

 

8. Under the costs provision the Defendant covenanted to pay the Claimants costs incurred as a consequence of the breach of Service Charge Provisions.

 

9. The Claimant has incurred not less than £720 in costs.

 

AND THE CLAIMANT CLAIMS

 

1. Judgement for the Service Charge of £1149 and administration fees of £370 and costs set out in paragraph9 of £720 in the total sum of £2239

 

2. Contractual costs which are recoverable under the terms of the Lease.

 

Statement of Truth

Signed on behalf of PDC

What is the value of the claim? £2434.50

Is the claim for a current account (Overdraft) or credit/loan account or mobile phone account? Property Service charge

When did you enter into the original agreement before or after 2007? Before 2007 in accordance with lease dated 28th March 2001. However please note copy of the lease attached as an exhibit to the particulars of claim is between the management company and previous owners.

Has the claim been issued by the original creditor or was the account assigned and it is the Debt purchaser who has issued the claim.

Account assigned to PDC

 

Were you aware the account had been assigned – did you receive a Notice of Assignment? Yes

Did you receive a Default Notice from the original creditor? No but I did receive a letter stating that if debt wasn't settled in 14 days it would be assigned to external debt company.

Have you been receiving statutory notices headed “Notice of Default sums” – at least once a year ? No debt is 6 months old

Why did you cease payments? Could not afford amount requested

What was the date of your last payment? 3rd July 2017

Was there a dispute with the original creditor that remains unresolved? No

Did you communicate any financial problems to the original creditor and make any attempt to enter into a debt manqgejent plan. Yes I made offer of 100 pm which was rejected

Thank you

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can we have the poc as well please

 

read this:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?436715-Property-Debt-Collections-Ltd-PDC

 

cpr 31:14 might serve you well here.

you need atleast to request the notice of assignment and deed copies etc etc

 

unless this debt has been SOLD to PDC, they have no legal right to issue a claim in their own name.

 

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?436715-Property-Debt-Collections-Ltd-PDC


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Just to clarify I have so far only returned the acknowledgement of service and ticked the box that states "you intend to defend part of this debt".

 

This is what I meant in my original post where I stated on the AOS I owe part of the debt.

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can you not go up on MCOL website and select DEFEND ALL.

 

defence is due by 4pm weds 4th jan


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can you not go up on MCOL website and select DEFEND ALL.

 

dx

Very good point ...thank you. I am currently typing up the PoC to post shortly

 

PARTICULARS OF CLAIM

 

1. In these Particulars of Claim the following meanings apply

 

'The Property' means the property known as (my address) which is registered with the leasehold title at h.m land registry under title number xxxx. Marked exhibit A

 

'The Lease' means the lease dated 28th March 2001 made between

1)Weston homes Plc,

2) Regents court management limited

3) names of previous owners for a term of 125 years in respect of the property.

A copy of the lease is attached to the particulars of claim marked exhibit b.

 

'The Service Charge Provision' means the provision in the Lease requiring the lessee to pay service charge by clauses 5.7.3 and 5.7.4 of the lease.

 

In accordance with the general scheme of the benefit of the Landlord of the Company and the Tenants of the Estate the Tenant covenants with the Landlord the Company and the Tenants for the time being of the other parts of the Estate

 

and with each of them that the Tenant will on 1 April each year the Tenant shall pay to the Company such sum in advance and on account of all costs charged and expenses incurred or to. E incurred by the Company in performing and carrying out the obligations and each of them under schedule 4 as the Company or the Company's agents shall from time to time specify as a reasonable estimate of such costs charged and expended

 

and if no such sum is specified by 31 March in each year the Tenant shall pay to the Company the same amount as was payable in advance in respect to the preceding year AND pay such sums or amounts referred to in Clause 5.7.2 and 5.7.3 by way of bank mandate (incorporating standing order or direct debit) if so requested by the Company or any Managing Agent or Agents appointed by the Company.

 

Additionally, by paragraph 1.1.17 of the particulars in the lease: the Tenants Proportion means 4.166%.

 

'The Cost Provision' Means the provision in the Lease requiring the lessee to pay costs as a consequence of the aforementioned breach by clause 4.3 of the Lease:

 

The Tenant covenants with the landlord and as a separate covenant with the Company:

To pay all costs charges and expenses ( including Solicitors costs and Surveyors fees) incurred by the landlord for the purpose of or incidental to the preparation and service of a notice under section 146 and 147 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (including any such fees payable in respect of the preparation and service of any schedule of dilapidations) notwithstanding that forfeiture may be avoided otherwise than by relief granted by the Court.

 

The Mortgagee means (name of my mortgage company)

 

Managing Agent means (name of my property management company)

 

The Professional Debt Collection Agency means Property Debt Collection ltd of (address)

 

2. The Claimant is the Management Company with the responsibility for administering the services and raising Service Charge demands in accordance with the Service Charge Provisions in the Lease.

 

3. In accordance with the tema of the Lease the Claimant made proper demand on the Defendant via the Managing Agent for payment of the Service Charge due to the Claimant under the Service Charge Provisions.

 

4. As Lessee, the Defendant covenanted to comply with the Service Charge Provisions in the Lease.

 

5. In breach of the terms of the Lease, the Defendant has failed to pay money due under the service charge provisions in the lease. There is attached to these Particulars of Claim as exhibit C a statement of arrears showing the arrears due including interest.

 

6. In breach of the Service Charge Provisions the Managing Agent instructs Professional Debt Collections Agency (PDC) to act on behalf of the Claimant. The PDC has written to the defendant demanding payment of the outstanding service charge together with its administration fees of £180.

 

7. The property is subject to a mortgage in favor of the Mortgagee who has been invited to discharge the arrears in order to remedy the breach of the Lease and thereby avoid prejudice to their security.

The mortgagee will not make payment on behalf of the defendant until a judgement has been obtained satisfying section 81 of the housing act 1996.

 

8. Under the costs provision the Defendant covenanted to pay the Claimants costs incurred as a consequence of the breach of Service Charge Provisions.

 

9. The Claimant has incurred not less than £720 in costs.

 

AND THE CLAIMANT CLAIMS

 

1. Judgement for the Service Charge of £1149 and administration fees of £370 and costs set out in paragraph9 of £720 in the total sum of £2239

 

2. Contractual costs which are recoverable under the terms of the Lease.

 

Statement of Truth

Signed on behalf of PDC

 

 

cpr 31:14 might serve you well here.

you need atleast to request the notice of assignment and deed copies etc etc

 

unless this debt has been SOLD to PDC, they have no legal right to issue a claim in their own name.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?436715-Property-Debt-Collections-Ltd-PDC

 

I will complete a cpr 31:14 request tonight!

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Thread moved to the appropriate forum.

 

Regards

 

Andy


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I registered on the MCOL website to see if I could 'defend all' online.

 

However, I have not been supplied with a password in my claim form so this does not seem possible.

 

I've emailed the customer service helpline.

 

In the guidance notes that came with the claim form it does confirm the defence can be filed by email electronically.

 

I guess I need to start seriously thinking about my defence and I would be grateful for any input or advice.

 

Some points I was thinking of:

- non compliance of cpr 31:14

- the lease (of which the defendant has allegedly breached) is not in my name but that of the previous owners.

- the claimant stated mortgagee allegedly will not make payment unless a judgement is obtained.

This is incorrect as I have spoken to Santander and they will make payment if I authorise it.

 

Or should I just be submitting an embarassed defence at this stage?

 

Many thanks for any advice

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I will be honest and asy I haven't a clue what your defence should be

but

its better not to use any kind of embarrassed one

that's a wee bit old hat in todays world

and its better to counter their claim at each point they make

 

 

certainly putting them to strict proof of what they are claiming and saying.

 

 

I hope others more knowledgeable will help as time is tight


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missed a bit sorry...

 

 

there should be a password in the further information box

 

 

unless its been issued by Salford court?

whereby I don't think you get one for MCOL


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There was not a further information box on the claim form. Nor any passwords provided. At the top of the claim document it has been issued in to County Court Money Claims Centre.

 

Guidance notes advise sending responses by post, DX or electronically so I will email my defence in.

 

Thank you for your help so far.

 

Is there anyone else who is able to give me any advice on the lines my defence should take please?

 

Thank you.

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Particulars are in depth and lengthy so I assume this has been issued manually...not through Northampton MCOL as the particulars would be restricted.

 

You need to respond in detail to each point of their particulars...you shouldn't be using a holding defence in this instance.

 

Andy


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So you have made some sort of admission, I think you could claim that it is the service charge you are admitting to (there are possible defences to this, being the demand wasnt valid and/or you dispute some of the amount due to it being unreasonable).

 

As mentioned above its best not to admit anything as specifically with leasehold issues it can effect if extra costs can be claimed.

 

It looks as if you arnt going to dispute the acdtual service charge but dispute the 'extra' costs, as this will be a small claim then costs will be very limited fixed costs, any additional costs it looks like the freeholder is trying to get them contractually (i.e through the lease, this will only be payable IF the lease allows AND IF he has demanded them correctly with proper correct admin charges - summary of rights).

 

You may need to post up your lease and copies of service charge demands and any other correspondence.

 

Ill add some more later

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So amount is for:-

 

1339.51. Subtotal (I assume this consists only of service charges ?)

180. Pdc fee (Debt collection fee, again, only payable if lease allows and correct process/demands have been sent)(

720. Additional costs (I assume he is trying to collect this under the lease, it is by no means certain it is recoverable)

115 court fee (This is standard court fee and prob recoverable)

80 legal representative fee ((This is standard legal costs fixed fee and prob recoverable)

 

Looks like there is another £370 added as admin fee (again, same issue with lease/valid demand applies).

 

Total 2434.51 !!!!!!!!

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First step is to let us see the lease, THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT.

 

And also any demands sent that mention the £720 fee.

 

Lastly any service charge demands and attached service charge - summary of rights.

 

Best defence would be to admit Service Charge owing but dispute any extra costs on grounds of:-

 

Not payable under lease and/or not demanded correctly or finally amounts are unreasonable and you will ask an FTT to determine amounts

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can we have the poc as well please

 

read this:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?436715-Property-Debt-Collections-Ltd-PDC

 

cpr 31:14 might serve you well here.

you need atleast to request the notice of assignment and deed copies etc etc

 

unless this debt has been SOLD to PDC, they have no legal right to issue a claim in their own name.

 

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?436715-Property-Debt-Collections-Ltd-PDC

 

Yes..just read this, the lease would be between freeholder and leaseholder (the original copy will prob mention the ORIGINAL FH and LH)

 

 

BUT It cant be assigned to this PDC company,

in any case the freehold of a property cant be assigned or sold without first offering it to the current LHs,

 

 

so if the claim IS issued by PDC, this sounds dodgy , as you, as a LH, have no contract with PDC.

 

Might be an idea to visit Land Registry site - https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0C7IdFQG9k5Tz/?_ga=1.191370286.501645647.1474468745

 

(https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/copies-of-deeds)

 

And type in your address and buy Title Deed, (£3) this will show who freeholder is.

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claimant says PDC

and says they've sent a notice of assignment too?

 

 

re post 4

 

 

might be an idea to scan up the NOA to pdf please


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claimant says PDC

and says they've sent a notice of assignment too?

 

 

re post 4

 

 

might be an idea to scan up the NOA to pdf please

 

Does it ? ../Aah.. yes I can see it mentions it, Ive not seen this before for a SC debt

 

All I can see is :-

 

The Claimant is the Management Company with the responsibility for administering the services and raising Service Charge demands in accordance with the Service Charge Provisions in the Lease.

 

3. In accordance with the tema of the Lease the Claimant made proper demand on the Defendant via the Managing Agent for payment of the Service Charge due to the Claimant under the Service Charge Provisions.

 

4. As Lessee, the Defendant covenanted to comply with the Service Charge Provisions in the Lease.

 

5. In breach of the terms of the Lease, the Defendant has failed to pay money due under the service charge provisions in the lease. There is attached to these Particulars of Claim as exhibit C a statement of arrears showing the arrears due including interest.

 

6. In breach of the Service Charge Provisions the Managing Agent instructs Professional Debt Collections Agency (PDC) to act on behalf of the Claimant. The PDC has written to the defendant demanding payment of the outstanding service charge together with its administration fees of £180

 

It appears to say the claimant (PDC) is the management company but then at 6. it says the management company instructed PDC to 'act on its behalf', this is different to assigning the debt.

 

Para 6 appears to say the managing agent (this could be diff to management company) instructs PDC to act on behalf of PDC !?

 

Anyway..the OP does say there is an NOA, ultimately they may well be other defences to the extra admin costs.

 

Would of been better for the OP not to say "couldnt afford payment", as thats not a valid defence and closes door on what you can put in the defence.

 

To add..Im not sure id once a debt is assigned that the non payment conditions of the lease still apply though.

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Sorry for delay, have been trying to work out how to upload pages in order.

 

In any case please find Lease and service charge demands attached.

 

There was NO mention of the £720 before court documents

 

I received no 'summary of rights'

 

The lease is not in my name and they attach no notice of assignment

 

I am happy to pay original service charge.

 

many thanks for your continued advice and comments.

 

Freeholder is FREEHOLD MANAGERS (NOMINEES) LIMITED (Co. Regn. No. 02686761) of 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR.

 

So amount is for:-

 

1339.51. Subtotal (I assume this consists only of service charges ?)

180. Pdc fee (Debt collection fee, again, only payable if lease allows and correct process/demands have been sent)(

720. Additional costs (I assume he is trying to collect this under the lease, it is by no means certain it is recoverable)

115 court fee (This is standard court fee and prob recoverable)

80 legal representative fee ((This is standard legal costs fixed fee and prob recoverable)

 

Looks like there is another £370 added as admin fee (again, same issue with lease/valid demand applies).

 

Total 2434.51 !!!!!!!!

 

 

 

1339.51 is not completely service charges... it consisted of 1149.51 original service charge demands

£40 admin charge

£150 debt referral fee

By the original managing agents ...Warwick estates

 

the rest of the breakdown of fees is correct as you have detailed it.

docs .pdf

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From what I can see there is NO clause allowing the FH to get his costs,

it only has the standard S146 clause (at 4.3),

 

 

in theory this can be used to get costs (there is contradicting case law)

BUT the FH must show he genuine intended to forfeit the property,

and that his actions havnt waived that right,

 

 

I think it may be that as he has assigned it to PDC it is now (and always was) a pure monetary debt and no forfeiture was intended and thus no costs.

 

In any event this cost is an admin charge and must be accompanied by

> http://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/summaries-of-rights-and-obligations-administration-charges-england/

 

So must service charge demands (although an admission may mean its too late to use that argument).

 

There is very strong argument to say Debt Collection fees are not payable due to the fact they are a debt and not a forfeit action.

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Sorry for delay, have been trying to work out how to upload pages in order.

 

In any case please find Lease and service charge demands attached.

 

There was NO mention of the £720 before court documents

 

I received no 'summary of rights'

 

The lease is not in my name and they attach no notice of assignment

 

I am happy to pay original service charge.

 

many thanks for your continued advice and comments.

 

Doesnt matter lease is not in your name, they never are, they get assigned from person to person.,.,go to land registry as I said and download Title Deed, this will show upto date info.

 

In previous post you said you DID get notice of assignment !?

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claimant says PDC

and says they've sent a notice of assignment too?

 

 

re post 4

 

 

might be an idea to scan up the NOA to pdf please

 

Just to clarify on this...the original question was

'Were you aware the account had been assigned – did you receive a Notice of Assignment?'

 

my answer was Yes.

I was aware it had been assigned because in the final reminder from the Managing Agents (p20 of my scanned docs) it says that

"if we do not hear from you within 14 days of this letter we shall have no other option than to pass this matter to an external debt collection company"

 

There was no further document titled 'notice of assignment' besides this final reminder letter. Sorry if I confused you

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Doesnt matter lease is not in your name, they never are, they get assigned from person to person.,.,go to land registry as I said and download Title Deed, this will show upto date info.

 

In previous post you said you DID get notice of assignment !?

 

Have checked with land registry as you suggested. The title register is in my name. The freeholder is Freehold Managers (Nominees) Ltd

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