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On behalf of friend..

 

Hi all,

 

my friend owns and lives at in one of three flats at an address in Surrey.

 

Repairs were needed to roof as was leaking. There is no freeholder/landlord - known as 'absent landlord' and a deed of covenant for the address was signed by all leaseholders. Within this document, the process for repairs and splitting payment is explicitly relating to such an issue. i.e. majority decision rules and costs to be split three ways. In any case, all three tenants agreed to proceed with repairs after reviewing quotes.

 

All tenants were consulted and agreed to the repairs. now one of them is refusing to pay saying there was no proper section 20 notice. My friend is c£2.5k out of pocket

 

The non-paying tenant's solicitors have written to him saying there is no liability to pay and for any correspondence to directed to them. Letter Before Action was sent before receiving this letter directly to the defendant - and then forwarded to the solicitors too.

 

Questions are simply:

 

1. Who is 'the Claimant' when using MCOL - the person or the solicitors

2. Any other advice is welcomed

 

thank you v much for reading


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

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The defendant is the tenant. Not the solicitors.

 

Despite what they have told you, you have no obligation to write directly to the solicitors. You can write to the tenant and I suggest that you keep on doing so. Make sure that there is a record of everything which is sent.

 

This is not an area that I'm familiar with so I don't know what a section 20 notice is maybe you can explain.

 

Anyway, eventually I would have thought that his only defence would be that the work didn't really need doing. I would have thought that it would be prudent to make sure that you get a couple of formal opinions as to the condition of the roof – as well as two or three independent quotes for repairs.

 

The fact that you are asking a question about who to address the claim to after having sent a letter before action, indicates to me that you really haven't prepared at all.

 

Claiming against people is not very difficult but frankly it's not very sensible to begin the process – including the pre-action protocol without having understood all the steps and where you going to go next.

 

You say that he has agreed to the repairs. Have you got this in writing? Was the consultation done in writing? Do you have a paper trail?

 

Particularly as you seem likely to end up dealing with a firm of solicitors, you can look forward to sneaky tricks. You need to be fully prepared, i's dotted and T's crossed.

 

Also, the solicitor is likely to try and tie you up in protracted correspondence. Don't get drawn into this. If you our going to claim then just do it.

 

After the claim is issued then you can get involved in protracted correspondence while the process moves on.

 

This is a small claim so the defendants cost won't be recoverable even if you lose. This means that as long as you behave sensibly, you can have some fun making sure that you send the solicitors lots of regular updates and correspondence that they would be obliged to read and maybe respond to and of course that is likely to chalk up a few fees.

 

On the other hand, you might consider that is a dishonourable thing to do and of course the money spent on fees might be better off being spent on the roof.

 

Maybe you ought to have a word with your prospective defendant and tell him that his share of the roof fees will be considerably less than his share of the litigation costs – win or lose (because it's a small claim).

 

Maybe he doesn't appreciate that. Maybe the solicitor hasn't explained to him the significance of costs in small claims.


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Thanks Bankfodder. Really appreciate the reply and the effort you have taken above

 

My understanding is that there is a paper trail (some in writing, some via e-mail). I believe that the steps taken so far seem well organised - the solicitors stepping in prior to claim threw my friend in terms of where to send the claim.

 

I will source more details from my friend and piece it together. I have only recently learned of the problem so playing catch up


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Well get a full copy of the file and make sure that it is complete as far as you are concerned.

 

Go through it and see what you think there should be and find out where it is or why it isn't there and how to get it.

 

You want to be totally satisfied that you have got all the information and that you are confident about making a case before you proceed.

 

Frankly it's not going to look good if you delay on the deadline for the LBA – but better to be safe than sorry.

 

Also, once again I would have a word with the defendant about the amount of money that he is proposing to spend on solicitors as against the cost of the leak.

 

It's clear that the leak will have to be repaired and that at some point or other he will have to make a contribution.

 

Someone ought to tame to stop being an arse and put his money into the house and rather than into the pockets of a solicitor


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Best if you friend posts on this thread to avoid delays & confusion. You can still hold their hand.

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IMO it seems as if the Solicitor may be taking this as the Leaseholders have taken over the Management and have the Right to Manage, it would be beneficial if you could post a copy of the "Deed of Covenant" you all signed minus personal identifying info.

 

http://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/right-to-manage/


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you can go after the mortgage company on the errant persons flat. Name them as co-respondents and read the lease very carefully to see if having it annulled is a possibility. Often it is. The martgage co will then lose their hold on their only asset that supports their loan and may well pay for the repairs and add the amount to the leaseholder's mortgage.

Your friend may have to go back to the solicitors who drew up the original commonhold if this course of action is a possibility

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Update - a claim was issued which was defended. The defence was so poor that a WP letter to settle without wasting time and costs was sent and the defendant settled in full.

 

Will a letter suffice to the court to discontinue? or is there more of a process to follow?


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Just inform the court its been settled...your not actually discontinuing the claim.

 

Andy


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