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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 778
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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Hi my name is maria; i am the owner of a flat on a 3 flat building in

Customer Question

Hi my name is maria; i am the owner of a flat on a 3 flat building
in south london. We bought the property after it had been converted; we
had issues from day one due to the poor conversion but the contractors
had no insurance and there was nothing we could do against them.
I am on te ground floor and i am the one struggling the most due to
the condition of the bay windows. I spoke to the other owners and i even
brought a structural engineer to give a report about the condition. I
paid for it. The owner of flat 2 wants to go ahead to fix it as he wants
to sell. The guys of flat 3 are putting all sort of excuses but now my
tenants are really struggling cause water filtrating through the
windows.i had to do a lot of things and they refuse to pay cause they were interior though cause by the windows' condition. we have an expert willing to start and an estimate but they refuse to do it cause they want to have another guy, the husband of the owner of flat 3..and now we think they want to fix their house cause they are starting to have small issues though until now they refused to deal with mine.
My question is, how can i push them legally? Are they legally binded if
we are 2 against 1?
Can i start the job alone?
Please please i need your help
Thx a lot
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

hi

LondonlawyerJ :

Can you clarify some things please. Are you a freeholder or a leaseholder. What is causing the disrepair to your flat and what are the problems in it. Is there a management company for exterior repairs. When was the conversion. When did you buy the flat?

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

hi; we are 3 owners and it is a 999 share of freehold.the disrepair are the bay windows which are moving and falling down; the engineer said it is caused by the bad conversion; we all bought the flats after it was renovated in 2009. i had issues from day 1; the other ones are luckier cause they are on the second and 3rd floor. i have tenants cause i al living abroad at the moment and that flat it is my source of income.

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

we don't have any management company; the 3 of us are letting the flats.

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

hi are u coming back online?

LondonlawyerJ :

I am a working lawyer and have had to be away from this site for a while. This will happen from time to time I am afraid. Do you still want me to help you?

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

yes please, i do understand now i know thanx

LondonlawyerJ :

K so you are the freehold owner of a flat. One of 3 in a property. There must be some form of agreement about repairs to the common parts and perhaps to the exterior of the property in terms of who is responsible and how to arrange payment for the work You would probably have had details of this at the time that you purchased the flat but I doubt you have the documents with you abroad. You could try to contact your conveyancing solicitors to see if they still have copies of the letters they sent you including their report on property when you purchased the flat.

The usual situation is that common parts (eg steps to front door, porch, entrance hall and communal stair if any) and major exterior works (roof, painting exterior, repointing etc.) will be a joint responsibility between the flat owners. Whether the windows will be covered rather depends on why they are leaking. If it is bad fitting or fitting defective windows then this would often be your responsibility. If it is caused by some wider structural problem (eg as a result of the building moving) then it would most likely be the responsibility of the 3 owners together. It is not clear to me what is causing the window problem do you know?

You may want to look to the people who fitted the windows (was this the same builder who converted the building into flats?) If the fitting of the windows was negligent you may have a claim against them for compensation for the cost of replacing the windows plus any loss caused by the defective windows. If the problems are caused by building errors the same is true. YOU will need to consider whether you are under an obligation to tell your insurers about the problems.

There are strict time limits for bringing claims in these situations and the time limit can expire as soon as 6 years after the negligent act was down. In some circumstances the time limit can be extended if for example the damage only became apparent at a later stage. I stress the word can rather than will.

As far as you tenants are concerned they may have a legitimate claim against you if there is a defect to the structure and exterior of the premises which is causing unpleasant disrepair in flat in which they live.

I hope this answers your question but it is likely that there will be follow up questions. Please also rate my service to you. This will not close the question and I will continue to answer further questions.

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

thx a lot, well, the people that converted the building dissapeared; i tried to go after them but it seemed they had no insurance so there was nothing the 3 of us could do. the windows it seems they are moving because they were not proper;y converted and that is the reason; we thought there were structural movements and we had the loss adjusters following up for 2 years but they proved there were not.apparently the same is hapening in the top windows thouh in that case they are small ones and not bay like min.

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

thx a lot, well, the people that converted the building dissapeared; i tried to go after them but it seemed they had no insurance so there was nothing the 3 of us could do. the windows it seems they are moving because they were not proper;y converted and that is the reason; we thought there were structural movements and we had the loss adjusters following up for 2 years but they proved there were not.

JACUSTOMER-rgho6mf6- :

thx a lot, well, the people that converted the building dissapeared; i tried to go after them but it seemed they had no insurance so there was nothing the 3 of us could do. the windows it seems they are moving because they were not proper;y converted and that is the reason; we thought there were structural movements and we had the loss adjusters following up for 2 years but they proved there were not.they guys on the top floor are starting to have small issues with their windows too.i just want to fix it and sell the property as i am tired of all this and have no more money.i attach the leasehold of my neighbour who emailed it to me. thx

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LondonlawyerJ :

Ok so it seems that it is a problem with the windows themselves rather than some wider structural problem. The people who itt them have disappeared. It may be that you simply have to bite the bullet and pay to replcae the windows or sell the porerty as it is. Unless there is something in the documents making windows a joint responsibility (and I doubt it) (also I am sorry but the lease you sent me is just too long for me to read as part of this site's service) you will have no remedy although your insurance may cover it. If you cannot find the people responsible for the problems you will have no legal remedy.

LondonlawyerJ :

I am sorry to have to give you this answer but it is the correct advice I am afraid.

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