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    • Hi Guys,   Following in from my 17 page thread, that dates back over ten years, I am starting a new thread, at the suggestion of the site team. My issue relates the a) service charges relating to the Leasehold flat I bought back in 2006 b) a Managing Agent who is of questionable abilities as a manager of our block of flats. The Managing Agent has claimed £6k in fees to which (I think, as does the new Landlord) he was not entitled. I am wanting to get it back, and/or the fees on my account calculating properly which would leave me with a credit balance.  I am recently in receipt of a 4th claim relating to this dispute, with two of the previous three going 'no where'. The other one they won in default on 2011, but I successfully had that set-aside.They have not given me the money back though. It all started due to poor management of the block, and it transpired upon scrutiny that the management arrangements appear to be unenforceable prior to 2014. It's very complicated. This information is required simply posted, and not as a PDF, so here goes:   1.       BlurredFX Service Charge Saga 2.       Sept 2006 a.       In 2006 BFX buys a leasehold flat. His solicitor advises him that Ground Rent is payable to Landlord-one and Service Charges are payable, but to be wary of the service charges, as he is unable to confirm how they are being administrated. b.       BFX is sent a bill for service charges from PQR Managing Agent. BFX enquires as the legitimacy of the service charges, but is unable to get a satisfactory answer. The service charge requests are not complicit with the required legislation – such as the name of the Landlord. They are served in the name of ABC Management Company Ltd c/o PQR Managing Agents. c.       ABC Management Company has two Directors, both residents of the block in which BFX resides and to which this dispute relates. d.       Landlord-one is absent, except for Ground Rent requests. 3.       2006-2009 a.       Despite written and verbal requests, BFX refuses to pay any service charges until ABC Management Company are properly authorised by Landlord-one – because without such, he has no recourse or way to complain. b.       Demands are not complicit with the legislation. c.       The property was not properly maintained. For example, the lease obligations for an internal redecoration every five years had no been met. The obligations to maintain the exterior of the had not been met, and the timber double glazing was starting to rot quite badly. 4.       2008/2009/2010 a.       TUV Managing Agent Ltd buys out PQR Managing Agent (a sole trader, I believe). They seem to operate interchangeably for a few years, using different headed paper along the way. They seem to be interchangeable. It is the same personnel. 5.       June 2009 a.       TUV Managing Agent LTD, on behalf of ABC Management Company Ltd, file a court claim against BFX. [CLAIM2009] b.       BFX asks them to fully particularise their claim, including asking for details of who authorised them to manage the building and various other pertinent questions. 6.       10th August 2009 a.       BFX sends CPR18 – request for information to TUV Managinig Agent c/o ABC Management Company 7.       2009 a.       Hearing is scheduled for Jan 2010 [CLAIM2009] 8.       February 2010 a.       There is a hearing. b.       Ref: [CLAIM2009] c.       From the Court: IT IS ORDERED THAT the claim be stayed to enable the Parties to endeavour to reach a settlement if no application is made to restore by Tuesday 6th April 2010, the claim be struck out 9.       24th March 2010 a.       TUV Managing Agent sends BFX an agreement to sign, agreeing to pay. BFX does not sign the document. 10.   2010 – 30th or 31st March 2010 a.       BFX attends a meeting with a Director of ABC Management Company and Director of TUV Managing Agent. b.       BFX outlines his position, and suggests a verbal agreement to pay from 2006-2010 once the management of the block is properly administrated – my preference being the ‘RTM route’. c.       The other people at the meeting do not appear to understand. 11.   1st April 2010 a.       TUV Managing Agent on behalf of ABC Management Company write to the Court, asking that the claim be restored, claiming BFX has remained silent. b.       Notice of allocation from the Court, dated 15th April, for a hearing in July. 12.   July 2010 a.       On the day, a lady at the Court informs BFX that TUV Managing Agent has been on the phone, and said that BFX has paid the money and to cancel the hearing. b.       BFX had not paid any money at all. c.       Nothing more is heard of [CLAIM2009] 13.   6th October 2010 a.       ABC Management Co c/o TUV Managing Agent send a letter, after the Freehold Reversion of BFX’s block comes up for sale. TUV Managing Agent outline three options – do nothing, RTM, or buy the freehold. b.       BFX opines that it is not good advice, but is ignored. 14.   December 2010 a.       BFX’s health starts to visibly deteriorate. 15.   Late April 2011 a.       BFX is blue-lighted into the regional hospital, as witnessed by Director of ABC Management Company. 16.   Early May 2011 a.       TUV Managing Agent, on behalf of ABC Management Company, commence a new claim against BFX – literally within a week or so of BFX going into Hospital! b.       This is [CLAIM2011] 17.   August 2011 a.       TUV Managing Agent and ABC Management Company are awarded Judgement in Default. b.       BFX remains critically ill in Hospital. 18.   September 2011 a.       Letter from BFX’s Mortgage Company-One to BFX b.       “We have been advised by TUV Managing Agent that your Ground Rent and Service Charges of £6k-ish has not been paid.” Iy goes on to say pay them. 19.   September 2011 a.       In reference to [CLAIM2011] a letter from TUV Managing Agent to BFX’s Mortgage Company-One states: b.       “As the managing agents of BFX’s Block, I write to advise you that your client, BFX, is in severe arrears and therefore is in breach of his lease. c.       “A County Court Judgement was served on August 2011 in the sum of £6k-ish. A Copy of the Judgement is enclosed for your reference. d.       “I therefore request that this payment is now made in full by your client within 21 days, failure to do so will result in further action being taken and a Section 146Notice [sic] being served on Mr Piggin” 20.   October 2011 a.       Letter from TUV Managing Agent to BFX’s Mortgage Company-One states: b.       “Further to your letter of 25th October 2011, please find below the details of the bank account to make payment of the outstanding service charge and ground rent for the above property” [BFX’s property] c.       Mortgage Company-one makes a payment to ABC Management Co c/o TUV Managing Agent, for the claim amount. 21.   January 2012 a.       Landlord-one sells his freehold to Landlord-two. BFX receives a letter from Landlord-one’s solicitor. It states: b.       “…we write to advise that the benefit of the receipt of the ground rent payable under such Lease has now been transferred to Landlord-two to whom all future payments of ground rent including all arrears and the amount due from 2st January 2012 shall be payable to and whose receipt shall be a full and absolute discharge under such Lease” 22.   February 2012 a.       Landlord-one sells his freehold to Landlord-two. b.       Landlord-two writes to BFX stating that he owes Ground Rent since 2006. c.       That letter from Landlord-two to BFX also states d.       “While we have no wish to disrupt and current workable management arrangements we do have concerns in that respect as the building is not being managed strictly in accordance with the Lease provisions and although we would have no great objection to ABC Management Company Ltd continuing with the management of the structural and communal areas of the building we would be happier if the present informal arrangement, which could in theory be discontinued at any time by any party, could be formalised either by a Deed of Variation being entered into in connection with each individual leaseholder or by a complete Deed of Variation being entere into by all parties. We hope you will support a Deed of Variation and would request your written views in that respect. e.       “We were in direct communication with PQR Managing Agent prior to completion of our purchase and enclose for your information copy letter written to that firm on 11th January 2012. PQR Managing Agent have confirmed they have never received any ground rent payments and they are raising our ‘insurance concerns’ with X Insurer.” f.        The letter referred to above also asks PQR Managing Agent to make certain material disclosures to X Insurer. g.       In his letter to TUV/PQR Managing Agent, dated 11th of Jan, Landlord-two also states, h.       “As management is current [sic] carried out by you on behalf of ABC Management Company Limited, who are not named in the Lease and therefore maintenance obligations are unenforceable against or by that company, you may wish to give consideration to:” It then proposes a) a deed of variation, or b) Landlord-two becomes a client of TUV Property Management, and long term management is done that way. i.         The letter from Landlord-two continues: j.         “Finally, while we appreciate that you are not authorised to collect ground rent and indeed we assume you have not therefore been collecting ground rent, can you please confirm for the avoidance of doubt that you have never collected any ground rent payments from any leaseholder in connection with this building or, if you have collected any ground rent payments, can you please let us have details of such payments.” 23.   October 2012 a.       BFX makes an application for the Judgement to be set-aside, an account of his being hospitalised almost constantly since April 2011. b.       A hearing is scheduled. 24.   January 2013 a.       There is a hearing, the Judgement against BFX is set-aside. TUV Managing Agent and ABC Management Company do not attend. BFX has until February to file his Defence and Counterclaim, which he does. 25.   March 2013 a.       AQ’s submitted, and hearing scheduled. b.       TUV Managing Agent, on behalf of ABC Management Company is ordered to pay the hearing fee. 26.   18th April 2013 a.       Court orders unless TUV Managing Agent, on behalf of ABC Management Company pays the fees, the claim shall be struck out. b.       Letter from the Court: BFX’s counterclaim remains listed for May 2013. There is a hearing, and TUV Managing Agent, on behalf of ABC Management Company fail to attend. 27.   May 2013 a.       After a hearing, where TUV Managing Agent and ABC Management Company fail to attend, the Court orders: “The claim be adjourned generally with the liberty to restore on the application of either party.” 28.   2nd half of 2013 and 2014 a.       Various letter from TUV Property Management, and meetings of residents. It is decided by Leaseholders in BFX’s block that we should exercise our ‘right-to-manage’. 29.   17th February 2014 a.       Letter from a solicitor dealing with the RTM progress, it says Landlord-two now has 28 days to file a response. 30.   4th June 2014 a.       BFX Receives a letter from TUV Property Management it states: b.       “Please find enclosed a new standing order form for BFX’s block. c.       “We have opened a new current account for BFX’s block due to the Right to Manage coming into effect in 1st July 2014 d.       “The new standing order is to commence on 1st July 2014…” e.       It continues with pleasantries about cancelling old SO etc. 31.   2nd July 2014 a.       The newly formed ABC RTM Company Limited (c/o TUV Managing Agent) sends an invoice to BFX for £3.3k, the description on the invoice being ‘Account Adjustment: Transfer from previous Management Company’ 32.   2nd July 2014 a.       The newly formed ABC RTM Company Limited (c/o TUV Managing Agent) sends an invoice to BFX for £3.6k, the description on the invoice being ‘Account Adjustment: For period 4th July 2014 – 30th September 2014’ 33.   28th July 20014 (1) a.       ABC RTM Company Limited (c/o TUV Managing Agent) sends an invoice to BFX for £3.5k, having added £12. It states ‘Account Adjustment: Title Register’. b.       IT ALSO SHOWS BFX’s FIRST PAYMENT of 1 month’s service charges to ABC RTM Company Ltd as ‘Payment Received’ 34.   28th July 20014 (2) a.       ABC RTM Company Limited (c/o TUV Managing Agent) sends an invoice to BFX for £3.8k, having added £360 court fees. It states ‘Account Adjustment: Court Fees’ 35.   28th July 20014 (3) a.       ABC RTM Company Limited (c/o TUV Managing Agent) sends an invoice to BFX for £4k, having added £120 in court fees 36.   11th August 2014 a.       The newly formed ABC RTM Company Limited (c/o TUV Managing Agent) sends an invoice to BFX adding another £85. Description: ‘HM Court fee as fee is £205 not £120 – difference’ 37.   August 2014 a.       Following another emergency admission to Hospital for BFX, ABC RTM Company Limited immediately file a claim [CLAIM2014] for alleged arrears from 2011-2014. Approximately £4k. 38.   November 2014 a.       From the Court: Claim [CLAIM2014] stayed until February 2015, by which time the Defendant is to serve his Defence and in default shall file and serve further medical evidence supporting his inability to do the same. 39.   September 2015 a.       Claim stayed until end of October 2015 40.   November 2015 a.       Claim stayed until Jan 2016 41.   8th January 2016 a.       BFX makes an application for summary judgement [of CLAIM2014] that the claim be struck out, as it is a relitigation of [CLAIM2011] 42.   Feb 2016 a.       Transferred to local Court. 43.   31st March 2016 a.       There was a hearing of my application (I think) b.       From the Court, re [CLAIM2014] c.       IT IS ORDERED THAT d.       The hearing of today’s date be adjourned e.       The Claimant to file and serve a fully Particulars (detailed) Particulars of claim [sic] to set out the basis to the claim, entitlement of the Claimant to recover sums from the Defendant, detailing sums recovered and any outstanding payment plus other details which the Claimand may advise to address by 22 april 2016 f.        The Defendant to file and serve a detailed defence addressing the Particulars of Claim in paragraph 2 above by 12 may 2016 g.       If the Defendant wishes the application of today’s date to be relisted (upon consideration of the fully particularised Particulars of Claim), the Defendant should write to the court, at the same time as filing a defence, with a copy of this order, asking for the Court to relist the application for hearing with an estimated length of 1 hour 30 minutes (30 minutes of it being reading time). In the event that the application is relisted, both parties to file and serve detailed statements addressing the subject matter of the application 7 clear days before the hearing. 44.   17th May 2016 a.       From the court: b.       “IT IS ORDERED THAT The Defendants application be relisted in accordance with the order made on the 31st March 2016 on Monday 27th June at 15:30pm with an elh of 30 minutes,not to be heard by telephone” [sic]” 45.   June 2016 a.       I think there was a hearing, possibly. I am looking for the paperwork. I attended the hearing directly from a different regional Hospital to the usual one, where I was being treated for a brain infection. We got our heads bashed together by a clearly infuriated Judge, Judge advised ABC RTM c/o TUV Managing Agents to get a solicitor, tells BFX to be clearer in what he says. Nothing further was heard. Until… 46.   7th April 2017 a.       BFX has an invoice for 1066.00 from TUV Managing Agent c/o ABC RTM Company Ltd 47.   August 2017 a.       BFX mortgage sold from ‘Mortgage Company-one’ to ‘Mortgage Company-two’ 48.   13th September 2017 a.       BFX received an invoice for £5,000 for his share for new windows to BFX’s block. It seemed complicit with s20 LTA 1985 etc. BFX pays £5k. b.       There was a lot of confusion during this process, I am pinning down the paperwork, but it was paid. The total invoice was not split as per the lease – Leaseholders were asked for funds on a per window basis, but the Lease says the total should be summed and divided by the number of units. c.       N.B. BFX’s flat is in a conservation area, and the price reflects expensive windows, as specified by local planners. There were other attempts to put in cheap, nasty windows, but BFX was able to stop this by making informal representations to the local Borough Council – who in turn contacted TUV Managing Agents, who in turn eventually put in a proper planning application for proper windows, which was approved. d.       There was a lot of confusion during this process, I am pinning down the paperwork, but it was paid. The total invoice was not as per the lease – Leaseholders were asked for funds on a per window basis, but the Lease says the total should be summed and divided by the number of units. 49.   12th October 2017 a.       BFX receives invoice for service charges (or statement of account): £4,800 approx. No payments are made by BFX 50.   25h September 2018 a.       BFX receives an invoice (or statement of account) for a total of £492. b.       It appears they have decided not to collect this amount 51.   March 2020 a.       Claim2020 from ABC RTM Company Limited c/o Company Director (not TUV Property Management) for £890 plus £70 Court fee. BFX has not been paying his fees because the management of the block is terrible.
    • Yes I know.  We would like the story posted up plainly on a post in a new thread with no attachment simply a step-by-step account of what happened and what led to the litigation. I think we can understand why this thread has gone on for 18 pages
    • I think he's hoping the attached pdf would be a satisfactory starting point for a new thread?
    • Please start a new thread so that you can post up a nice brief bullet pointed chronology of what happened which led to the litigation.
    • Hope it all goes well for her CB, let us know how she gets on.
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I received a phone call today from my previous council,

the gentleman said he called me with regards to my very old address dating back to 1999-2004.

 

 

I was a student then and found the flat through a normal Estate Agents,

signed the Tenancy Agreement and moved in.

 

 

Today, 2017, four children later

I get a phone call from the council enforcement team informing me that I owe over £4000.00 in BUSINESS RATES.

 

 

I was never informed that it was an "office" I was living in and to my total amazement they even took to me to court and I have a liability order from 2005.

This is approx a year after moving out.

 

 

I wasn't the only tenant,

there was a gentleman above me in another flat

and they built yet another flat in the loft when I moved out.

 

 

My flat had a bathroom with a bath and a kitchen and looked nothing like an office.

 

 

My LL at the time informed me that I wouldn't have to pay council as I was a student and it would have been included anyway.

 

The gentleman from the council informed me that I am 100% liable and even though landlord or estate agent deceived me.

I am in total shock and feel that I have no choice other than to start to pay this huge amount.

 

There weren't any letters chasing the so called Business Rates throughout my time there

and all correspondence from Landlord stated My name, then, First Floor Flat, 33 So-called Road and Postcode.

 

 

Unfortunately I don't have more than 3 letters after that many years and I feel well and truly confused.

The man also informed me that their records only go back 7 years so they will not be able to investigate nor look further into it as "the Law of the Land" (his words) has already decided that I am liable.

 

Does anyone know why landlords would do this?

What do I do? I have 7 days to respond

 

Please advice or wake me up from this nightmare :noidea::frosty:

 

Please let me know if I need to post this in another section, unsure and new to this.

Edited by Elli Bee
Addition

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Register a formal complaint with the council concerned and send them a Data Protection Subject Access Request for copies of all records that relate to you.

 

Once they got a liability order, they don't expire as such. If you register a formal complaint, then the council should put it on hold, while investigations are carried out.


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Ok thank you I will do that! The gent made it sound very final, relieved to find that liability orders do not expire. I will inform the council contact a day after I have contacted the court.

 

I wonder if you can even chase business rates if there wasn't an actual business there.

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so where you were was subject to business rates

they've obviously gone after everyone that lived in the 'property' anf failed.

 

 

as you lived there, yes you are jointly liable, but if you were a student..no dice surely?

 

 

I've moved this to residentials


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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and if you call, try record calls if poss

and speak to the councils c'tax office management rather than the call centre.

could there be any recourse against the Lord and/or estate agent?


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Yes Im going to try the estate agent who still exist albeit in a different borough, wish me luck on that one.

 

One the upside one of the letters I dug out was a solicitors letter "requiring possession" due to LL selling the house, and it quoted a Section 21 of the HOUSING Act, which from I understand covers residential property.

 

Thank you all! I will keep you updated, any more wise words welcomed.

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as you know, it (s21)covers AST's

AST's cant be re a business tenancy


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Ok please advise, what is an AST?

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Ok please advise, what is an AST?

assured shorthold tenancy


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Assured shorthold Tenancy :)

 

Thanks for that!

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if then you have proof of the s21, then that wld add to negating any business liability. then, being a full time student cld negate any residential c'tax liability.

as dx said, sometimes, they just take a name given and pursue it.

as mentioned, if you are going to phone, record and speak to management. good luck.


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Hi Elli Bee

 

Yup get a Subject Access Request into the Council (check there website as well) you do need all the information they hold on you.

 

Also as pointed out Formal Complaint to the Council as well now and forward copies of what you still hold on the tenancy (even that letter mentioning the S21 and anything else you find)

 

As it's Business Rates does anything actually mention the Business name at the time?


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Thats the thing Stu007 no mention of a Business name.

 

All correspondence looks like this:

 

My Name

First Floor Flat

So called Road

London p0st cd3

 

Contacted the Estate Agent and they have records back to 2000 not 1999 :(

 

Have sent of an Subject Access Request regarding the Order against me. Waiting to hear back.

 

I had two landlords as property was sold but I stayed on. One LL is a Charity Fund and the other LL is now a politician in Australia. They obviously have give up on chasing them as some you mentioned.

 

Good news is that the 2nd page of the possession order letter I have clearly states: .....property let on a periodic assured tenancy..... but thay have slightly misspelt my name by one letter, wonder if they will use this.

 

 

Who do I send the proof letters to? The council officer handling my case? Do I wait till I have more material from the Subject Access Request.

 

The council have a timescale of 40 days to respond to the SAR and council officer has given me 7 days.

Edited by Elli Bee

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Why don't you find out from this council officer, the head of council tax revenues name and address of council office.

 

Then send a written complaint by recorded delivery, starting, i wish to register a formal compaint in regard to a council tax liability in respect of (address xxxxxxxxxxxx) dating back to 2005. I received a phone call from a council officer named xxxxxx and this is the first time i have ever heard of this matter.

 

Then give more details about the situation and that you have never received any summons in regard to council tax liability.

 

Tell them that it is your intention to involve the Local Government Ombudsman if necessary to seek their assistance.

 

Once you register this formal complaint, they should putbany enforcement on hold.


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any worrying stories about the politico in Oz that you can see via google? If they were in the wrong letting the place as residential at the time then they may want to hear about it before their enemies do

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...If they were in the wrong letting the place as residential at the time.. .
could be. not telling the council and thus avoiding separate c'tax (in addition to the business rates) for the part residential.

and then the deemed 'occupier' of the business premises being made liable.

and, they did a 'formal' s21...!?


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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If the property was used as a residential dwelling then it should not be rated for business rates, it should be banded for council tax. The valuation office can backdate the start of a council tax banding in order to update the council tax list. I suspect there's a hole can of worms to be opened here.

 

What I suspect is happening is that it has never been banded for council tax, they have been given your name and so they have proceeded with the property as a non-domestic case. You need to contact them and advise that the property was domestic for the period in question and it should then proceed from there.

 

Whether you're then liable for council tax depends partly on the valuation office - if the property has been treat as one dwelling and the 'flats' have not been banded individually then the property would be a council tax HMO and the landlord would be liable. If the 'flat' was regarded as a dwelling in it's own right then you would be liable with a possible student exemption.

 

When the original liability order (and supporting docs) were issued they only needed to be sent to the last known address to be served correctly. The court will grant the liability order based on the summons and this confirms the monies are due in the eyes of the law. For business rates there is no formal route of liability appeal as there is with council tax and the council call the shots a lot more - the better news is that if the valuation office agency remove a property from the council tax list then it cannot be a non-domestic property for the same time period. To dispute a business rates liability order can involve a high court appeal.

 

You can appeal to the valuation tribunal on the basis of valuation and whether or not a property is a domestic dwelling - this would, if successful, remove business rates listing and shift it to council tax.

 

The Local Government Ombudsman is not a binding party - they can only make a recommendation. They cannot get involved in matters requiring interpretation or application of legislation - it sounds like the council have , based on the information held, proceeded correctly so far so there is no failing on their part in that respect (not yet, anyway) to be looked at.

 

Craig

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20 years ago LL/owner could have vol elected for VAT Registration on part/all of premises for financial reasons. For several years, small business rates were not demanded (exempt) until new business rates were assessed and demands sent out recently.

Check current status with LVA & Council.

Consider Change of use Planning Application for Residential Use.

Some properties had storage space above the shop, many later converted to accom and domestic rate/C Tax assessed.

Someone slipped up somewhere along the line and VOA are optimising recovery of all due Bus Rates.

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Mariner51: The flat is currently being let and advertised as a flat and as far as I know still with the same owners, however unable to check properly with land registry. I have been racking my head to find out what the LL benefit would be to let it as residential for years! Estate agents and both solicitors for each landlord were under the impression the property was residential.

 

@ericsbrother: The politician in Aus was indeed sacked from his job as elected Mayor. He is a colourful character with history in UK making millions.

 

Eric, thanks for your insightful post. I too expect a 'can of worms', dreading the process.

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you will need to get the tenancy confirmed in writing from agents. However, there is a bad precedent hanging over all of this that I recall from this forum regarding a similar situation. The courts decided that once someone has a liability order against them the actual reason and the mechanism for obtaining that order is no longer subject to question so you could end up in a position where all parties agree that it was wrong and is unfair but it is still enforceable because it wasnt challenged at the time ( well no-one knew about it but that doesnt matter either)

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