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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi There, I am a homeowner in a shared freehold block of

Resolved Question:

Hi There,

I am a homeowner in a shared freehold block of flats (16 in total). And I have an allocated parking space.

About six months ago the flat owner of the neighbouring parking space to mine allowed numerous trades vehicles to park in that space and damage was done to my car despite me informing him that it was against the terms of the building lease... The lease clearly states that the spaces are for the use of "one private motor car" The damage, whilst minor, will be costly to put right and I'm still trying to sort out the insurance side of things six months later!

After a lot of emails etc to the buildings management committee which comprises of four residents they finally took the action of sending the offending neighbour a letter reminding him of the lease rules and asking him to contact me (which he has failed to do).

Whilst I'm confident that he will no longer allow trades vehicles to park there, there is a broader issue in so far as lots of other flats have allowed their builders to use his space and on occasion mine. I fear that it is only a matter of time before more damaged to my car.

I have repeatedly suggested to the committee that it would be a good idea to adopt a uniform approach to the problem and send a polite reminder email to all residents and landlords in the building to make sure everybody is aware that they should not be have vans etc using the spaces.

However, the committee seem very reluctant to do this (not least of all because at least two of them have had vans parking there in the last year).

My question is essentially this:

If the committee refuse to take steps to remind everybody of the issue and further damage occurs to my car or anybody else's as a result of ignorance etc. Would the committee be deemed negligent and responsible in any way?

Kind regards

Aaron
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Do you have any evidence that the damage was caused by contractors employed by your neighbour please?

Customer:

Hi Joshua, I have photographs showing the vans paint on the damage to my car..

Customer:

I don't think there is any dispute as to the validity of my claims as far as the committee is concerned. They just don't want to take steps to prevent it happening again which is my main concern

Customer:

Hello?

Joshua :

Thanks. There would appear to me to be two components to this. Firstly in respect of the committees position, your lease should contain a provision that the landlord will enforce a covenant against another leaseholder upon the request of a leaseholder subject to indemnity as to costs or words to this effect...

Joshua :

Providing your lease contains such a provision and it should in order to be a lease compliant with the mortgage lenders requirements, you can request that the landlord enforces a covenant regarding parking against other leaseholders and accordingly the landlord is bound to do so under the terms of the lease.

Joshua :

Accordingly you may wish to check your lease for a leasehold enforcement covenant as above and remind the landlord of its obligations in this respect

Joshua :

The second aspect is that if you have evidence that the damage was caused by contractors of your neighbour, the neighbour can be held vicariously liable for the damage caused as the contractors were employed by him. This potentially means you can pursue your neighbour for any damage caused by his contractors rather than having to pursue the individual contractors themselves.

Customer:

Thanks. If I do that and they still seem reluctant to do so, what would my position be if other flats a. continue to allow vans to use the spaces and b. if damage occurs as a result?

Joshua :

On a practical note there are not camera installations that you can install in your car that detect movement, vibration etc and record images for evidential purposes. They are not cheap but if you are constantly getting damage caused to your car they can pay for themselves quickly in terms of gathering evidence.

Customer:

I've repeatedly pointed out to them that I am only asking them to try to make everybody aware of the terms of the lease for the good of all car owners in the block...

Joshua :

If the landlord refuses to enforce the covenants of the lease despite a lease enforcement covenant you can ultimately make an application to the Leasehold Tribunal to order enforcement of the covenants. Whether this would be a practical possibility given the slightly abstract nature of the offence - i.e. being committed by third parties at irregular intervals but in principle it can be done.

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX getting damage constantly, but the stress of worrying about who is using the space without consent shouldn't be an issue if everybody was made aware of the lease.

Customer:

Thanks. Is there a cunning way in which I could use some of your legal speak to incorporate in yet another letter to these guys? I've been pretty patient thus far!

Joshua :

A practical solution given the solution you are seeking rather than the hassle of a LVT application to force the landlords hand might be to simply prepare a polite notice and hand deliver it to all residents yourself. You don't have to say it is from you - just a polite reminder that commercial vehicles should not be allowed to park in the car park as there have been instances of damage caused to cars and that it is a breach of the lease conditions to allow contractors to park there and if you want to go further that residents can be personally liable for any damage their contractors cause or something of this nature.

Customer:

That's a good idea although I feel it would be better if something came from the officialdom of the management committee. If they still refuse, would they be negligent in your opinion?

Joshua :

It would but a polite notice stating the above facts without your name and address will in my view have much the same impact as it it were expressly sent by the committee. You could just head it NOTICE or POLITE NOTICE and as above.

Customer:

Ok, thanks.

Joshua :

It would be difficult to prove negligence here. If a landlord does not enforce a covenant on valid request and further damage occurs as a result then it can be possible to hold a landlord liable for such further damage but the causation here may be too remote - that the damage is being caused by third party contractors. It would be difficult in my view to hold the landlord liable for actions of third party contractors whether or not they complied with your request.

Joshua :

However the residents employed them can be vicariously liable for their contractors, and even more so if you can show that they have allowed contractors to park when they new this was not allowed because of your notice for example.

Customer:

That's great thanks. Have a good day.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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