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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I own the basement flat in a Victorian House conversion in

Resolved Question:

I own the basement flat in a Victorian House conversion in London. There are 2 flats in the building, both are leasehold and there is a management agent which acts on behalf of the freeholder. Since moving in I have been given no support from the management agent and the other leaseholder is refusing to pay for major works (section 20 notice has been served) which are clearly urgently required. As a result, my property is suffering further damage which will be more expensive to fix the longer nothing is done. I have had a survey carried out by a RICS approved independent surveyor and he agrees that the works are urgent. What can I do to ensure that the works are carried out? I feel like no one is doing anything, despite the seriousness of the situation.

Additionally, last night I had to pay £780 for the sewer pipes to be unblocked. The pipes are connected to 4 properties which feed into the mains water supply, but because the manhole is in my entrance hall of my flat, I was forced to take action as it was close to overflowing. I reported the blockage to the management agent over a week ago and nothing was done! Now they are not taking my calls at all. Why should I have to pay this sum myself and does this not fall into the remit of the freeholder as it is a structural/building issue?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

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 as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Is there anything in your lease that sets out who is responsible for the sewer pipes please?

Alex Watts :

If they have issued a Section 20 notice, havent they accepted that works need completing?

Customer:

Thank you Alex.

Alex Watts :

Yes, I just need the information above please/.

Customer:

sorry Alex, this chat system is playing up on my end. they accept works need done but aren't moving on it. They say to get the money from the upstairs owner will take another 3 months at least. The works can't wait that long though, the surveyor feels they are necessary immediately. The lease sets out that building issues are covered by the freeholder but I will need to check if the pipes are mentioned specifically. It is the same system used by the other flats though so feel it can't rest solely with me.

Alex Watts :

Well the first thing to say is that the sewer pipes are their responsibility.

Alex Watts :

That can not be yours of course.

Alex Watts :

If they refuse to carry out works then you need a Court Order to make them.

Alex Watts :

You would need to write to them, demand works be done or say you will go to Court within 28 days

Alex Watts :

If they refuse then you should get a Solicitor to write a letter, set out your position and ask they carry out the works, otherwise you will go to Court.

Alex Watts :

Finally if they still refuse you would need to issue proceedings and seek a Court order that they do the work AND refund you the £780

Alex Watts :

Technically they are in breach of contract and you could sue for loss and damage and request that they carry out the work.

Alex Watts :

If you have to pay for a Solicitor to represent you, if you win then you can ask the Court for your costs from the Landlord.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Well because it was an emergency I had to have the works done last night. The drain problem couldn't have gone without attention for another day so I have already paid the £780 and had it cleared. Presumably I should be reimbursed for this?

Alex Watts :

Yes you should and this is the process you should follow:

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:

The other works to the exterior are predominantly needed to the upstairs but have an effect on my flat via leaks. Should I seek a court order for these to be completed?

Alex Watts :

Yes you are able to do this.

Alex Watts :

But do steps 1) and 2) first.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything?

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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