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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have two questions regarding my leasehold flat which I rent

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I have two questions regarding my leasehold flat which I rent out to a tenant.

In April this year, my tenant notified myself and the Management Company of damp patches on the ceiling when it rained. The flat is on the top floor and the rook owned by the freeholder. To cut a very long story short, the Management Company refused to investigate as they were carrying out external decorations in the summer. On 17th December the rain water was coming through the bathroom ceiling so badly that the room could not be used - and work is still ongoing to fix this - which the Management company have finally dealt with. The tenant is asking for compensation for not being able to use the bath for a month. Can I pass on my losses to the Management company, since had they dealt with this when it was first reported, the loss of a bathroom could have been avoided?

Second question - when they were in the loft space they saw that the extractor fans to my bathroom and toilet were not connected to the outside and were in fact extracting to the loft space. They have told me that this is my responsibility and it contravenes building regulations. When I asked a company to quote for this work, they have reported that none of the other flats have any ducting or outlet to the outside - and never have had. I have now had to pay £500 plus VAT for ducting and a hole to be cut to enable extraction to the outside air. I have tried to argue that, as there was never any ducting or any means of extracting to the outside, this was an error when the flats were built, and therefore not my responsibility. I have paid for the work to ensure that my flat is covered under regulations but wonder whether I have a case to be able to claim back this cost from the freeholder or management company?

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : How much are your losses?
Customer:

At present approx one month's rent of £800 for the rain damage plus £100 for other items purchased to minimise damage.

Customer:

To sort out the extractor fans £510 plus VAT

Alex Watts : Ok. Did they know you were renting the flat please?
Customer: Yes. There has been email correspondence between them and my tenant plus the company who manage the rental for me. Plus I pay a £40 charge per annum to the freeholder to enable me to have a tenant.
Alex Watts : On what basis did they refuse?
Customer: With regard to compensating my tenant they agreed to pay the insurance excess but so far have ignored the question about compensation.
Customer: With regard to the extractor fans here is their response when I suggested this wasn't my responsibility as they were never connected in the first place.
Customer: "Dear Lesley In accordance to the lease a service that is not shared is the responsibility of the individual owner to maintain. Therefore, as the extractor fan is only servicing your property (individual service), then it is your responsibility as owner to maintain the unit accordingly. We regret in these circumstances that we have to insist that the works to reinstate the extractor fan unit is carried out within the next 5 years as the scaffold is being taken next week. Please note: The cost to put up another scaffold would be approx £700.00. The roofer can put an roof vent tile in the roof and leave the pipe work hanging down into the loft space for re-connection to the extractor unit. If you would like this work to be carried out please let us know as soon as possible and we will put you in touch with the contractor to enable them to give you a quote. Please note : If the extractor fan is not reinstated then unfortunately you will be in breach of building regulations. We look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks Regards XXXXX XXXXX Services Ltd From: Lesley Eckworth [[email protected]] Sent: 15 January 2014 19:55To: XXXXX XXXXX: Liz Shafford; Clare RafaelSubject: Re: water leak to flat74Dear LynnI would like to understand how this is down to me as the owner to sort out if there was an error when the properties were built - I would have expected this to be the responsibility of at least the freeholder?LesleySent from my iPadOn 15 Jan 2014, at 10:01, "Lynn Reeves" <[email protected]> wrote:Dear Lesley Please see below email received from Mr Dave Ivey who is a Director of the Fox Hollow Management Company and has been overseeing the roof works. Please note his comments regarding the extractor fans - please can you confirm if you will need use of the scaffolding to arrange works to reinstate the extractor fans. Many thanks Kind Regards XXXXX XXXXX Services Ltd From: David Ivey [[email protected]] Sent: 14 January 2014 20:27To: XXXXX XXXXX: 'Martin Still'Subject: water leak to flat74Hi Lynn,I spoke to Martin today and he informed me that himself and Vincent carried out a water test on the roofing works and all appears well. Martin has now removed the ceiling boards in the bathroom and removed the water damaged insulation. However one thing that has come to light is that the extractor fans in the bathroom and the toilet were not connected to any form of ducting so were basically discharging directly into the loft area. There is of course no way of knowing when, or indeed if, they were ever connected to any form of ducting to open air. Of course they cannot be allowed to be reinstated like this as they will cause more damage to the fabric of the roof area due to moisture being extracted from the bathroom and dare I say smells from the wc. It is worth considering whilst the scaffold is up that a contractor can install a roof slate and connect the ducting to this as it should have done in the first place. The costs of this would have to be met by the owners as this cannot be claimed for by the insurance or by Fox Hollow Management Co. , however they can use the scaffold providing they undertake the works fairly quickly otherwise we will have to pay excess rent on it. It am informed by Martin that it is still quite damp in the loft so it would be beneficial to leave the ceiling down for as long as possible to allow it to dry out, however that is easy for me to say as I am not the person who has to live with no ceiling in my bathroom. I did ask Martin if he could carry out the ducting works but he said he is to busy at the moment so maybe the owners have someone who may be able to do it? I hope this report is helpful please do not hesitate to contact me especially as we now have 2 more valleys to strip out and repair.
Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.


 


If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.


 


The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.


 


If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.


 


Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: I'd just like to clarify whether you think I have a rightful claim for a refund for the work to connect the extractor fans in view of the fact that the ducting and air vents have never existed?
Alex Watts :

I think the external work is for sure. As to the lost rent, that might be a little harder.

Alex Watts :

Please remember to take a moment to leave feedback before you go today

Customer: Thank you
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