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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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We (leaseholders like myself and tenants of leaseholders and

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We (leaseholders like myself and tenants of leaseholders and the council management agents, in a(n ex?) council estate, majority tenants over leaseholders) live in, what is, I believe a private estate. I want to know, fist, if it is private and/or what defines private over public. It isn’t completely blocked off, though it has been in the past and there is no need for anyone to enter/pass through, other than to visit. The whole estate AND road is privately owned and maintained by the council via its management agent (Land registry AND the council legal team and highways all conform t his btw) and we pay leasehold charges/ground rent for the privilege of being here to do major repairs, cleaning, repairs etc. That’s why I think it is private.
We are getting a lot of problems with outsiders residing, doing ASB, illegal things, intimidating, litter, ball games, drug use, fixing their cars/scooters, blocking anyone from entering the car park, driving or parking or speeding the wrong way round the estate, noise and the like. This is all verified by HD footage and agreed by the management agents and police at meetings.
There are further dangers too, such as BBQs in the car park, next to vans used by these outsiders (with no tax or insurance) often filled with illegal (allegedly, but the police believe so) fuel which they use to refuel other vehicles with a big funnel filter to extract debris.
The key problem is focused on a very small number of individuals and their associates and nothing seems to be getting done or answers to get anything done. Video evidence is 24/7 and ongoing and very clear.
The management agent things he has no powers to stop anyone from using the estate, especially as there are multiple occupants and the outsiders can claim to know some residents, (though video shows they never bother to visit). We don’t want to stop the postman and nice folk, just this group. It is going to be very expensive to build fences and the like to physically prevent folk, so a civil trespass plus injunction is going to sort it for a few months whilst we look further at it.
Many signs have been removed, like PRIVATE, some NO BALL GAMES signs etc. It would help, I think if these were replaced ASAP to help a case, but verbal warning should be enough, but the agent is reluctant to even do this and thinks the whole situation is too complicated.
Whilst my main gripe is with the managing agent (working on contract for the council) there is so much that the police can do, given the evidence. Aggravated trespass for a start and with a(n expected) refusal or reluctance to move, confiscate the vehicles. The group have been physically aggressive/threatening towards police and agents and residents before, even recently. The main protagonist has very recently been raided for drugs and had his own vehicle smashed in a revenge attack, so the dangers are real, if unknown to the residents regarding the unknown aspects of gang/drug issues already revealed.
The estate is very small (3 small flat blocks with 40 individual flats in total between them.
I think that they are all not really thinking outside the box, are apathetic or not putting all of the evidence together, because if they did, I feel there would be amply reason to do more and get a solid, multi-case outcome. The main protagonist, with a criminal record, is in the same managing agent social housing outside just outside of this estate and it is used as it is just out of sight of the main road.
Any recommendations/advice/additions or things I can share with the agent/police? I’ve seen the section 50/60’s trespass laws, but if used, how best to implement? Police don’t think it would work, but it is very straightforward I thought.
I am tempted to go higher than the inspector and into the council or even to the press as the suffering is almost constant at times and everyone is just watching and scratching their heads. Surely we can’t allow it?
Whilst many individual issues (like using untaxed, un-owned, uninsured vehicles is totally unacceptable if an accident occurs and there’s no payout, I am not here to just get the police an arrest. I want more permanent action.
We are looking at getting parking permits and blocking off the back gate, but in the meantime, we want to deal with this small group, who may argue that they are mates of residents which might raise additional issues or require evidence to be shared if going to court.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 2 years ago.
tdlawyer :

Hi thanks for your question. My name is***** can help with this.

tdlawyer :

Do you have a management company that controls the operation of the estate? And if so, are the leaseholders members/shareholders of that company?

Customer:

Hi Tony.

tdlawyer :

Hello!

Customer:

Yes, Pinnacle (aka Regenter B3 and Brockley PFI). We are not shareholders and cannot run it privately ourselves as we are less than 50% shareholders.

Customer:

Sorry, less than 50% leaseholders.

tdlawyer :

This company sounds like a professional managing agent appointed to run the estate. But do you know who/what company appoints it? Was it the landlord? OR was it another company that is responsible for running the estate/common parts?

Customer:

The council (Lewisham) own the buildings/leasehold, land and road. They appointed this agent to manage it. Even the road is private and not maintained by the local highways. The point here is that it IS all private, for OUR use, not public access and the managing agent is responsible for everything, except another company who deal with repairs to individual flats.

Customer:

They have authority over the estate on behalf of the owner, the council and act as such.

tdlawyer :

Okay, this would all be private, in the sense that you're tenants (or leaseholders) of the land concerned and have the right to use it as per the terms of your leases etc. A lot of these leases, and you will need to check yours, will say that you have the right to compel the landlord (the council) to take action against other tenants/owners that breach the terms of their leases, for example, by causing or allowing a nuisance to occur on their property.

tdlawyer :

It's worth looking into this because this could be the answer to your issues.

Customer:

The problem is with outsiders

Customer:

who basically exclusively occupy the place and the agent seems powerless to act. So outsider have 100% access to ALL of our private estate but pay nothing towards its upkeep and we, the residents, pay, with limited access and all the agro, but pay a lot for the privilege. Why should we pay?

Customer:

It's a small 50m x 50 m 1 acre astate.

tdlawyer :

Then the way forward might be for the landlord/managing agent to look at some form of concierge/security service, that has the ability to exclude people from the estate.

tdlawyer :

And for what it's worth, I agree with you, why should you pay for those that don't pay their own way.

tdlawyer :

You need to get as many residents together as you can to petition the landlord to take active steps here.

tdlawyer :

If he refuses, then you should consider looking at acquiring the Right to Manage for yourselves.

tdlawyer :

This would pass control of the estate over to you leaseholders. This would mean you could make your own management decisions.

Customer:

As I mentioned, we cannot acquire that right as leaseholders are less than 50%. Some residents are the outsider friends and the rest are afraid. I can get a few people, bu not a lot. Whilst numbers speak more loudly, the issue is still the same and fully evidenced, even with one complainant. If a security firm can act (with just a uniform for authority) which I would end up paying for) why can't the agent actr? If he can, tell me what he can do is what I'm asking. And why can't the police be brought in on aggravaed trespass?

Customer:

If this was on your private garden, you wouldn't sit back and scratch your head, you'd find solutions quickly I suspect.

tdlawyer :

No, that's not right. There is 100% of leaseholders, as everybody on the estate will have a lease. But, some flats now have tenants in - right? But, they still have leases, so you still have the ability to persuade the leasehold owners to consent to RTM.

tdlawyer :

Anyway, even if this isn't an option, there is another possibility for you.

Customer:

And private land offer differen solutions to the public highway, which is to our advantage with the agent and the police, I believe.

tdlawyer :

You could look at applying to the leasehold valuation tribunal for the appointment of new managers, as you may be able to claim that the present managers are ineffective.

tdlawyer :

Here is a detailed note on this type of application (called a s.24 application) which you might find useful: http://www.lease-advice.org/publications/documents/document.asp?item=18

Customer:

I will look later at this form. We have previously taken the agent to court with limited success. Very expensive and time consuming. The council are the leaseholders. Privately owned leases are in the minority. Most flats are rented off the council as social housing (or sublet from private landlords). Of the 40 flats, about 10 are owned. We can't manage them. So is it your belief, given all the evidence, if stated accurately, that the council agents and the police are pretty much powerless to act?

tdlawyer :

If this is owned by the council then they are NOT powerless to act.

tdlawyer :

Even where rented as social housing.

tdlawyer :

The Council have powers, inclding special statutory powers, to deal with anti-social behaviour etc. if you're having those problems, which your question suggests you are.

tdlawyer :

You might consider raising this with your councilllor too.

Customer:

O.K. I will take little of your time up now. I think that the culmination of my footage (which police and agent have seen) would be very powerful in showing that they are letting us down and putting us in danger. I also think that going higher will help as might the press. Do you think a solicitor would be interested in taking this on and/or is it a big/time consuming job or is a no win no fee available?

Customer:

Councilor was at last meeting and is herself affected, but not sure she's grasped the point.#

tdlawyer :

You might be able to get somebody to work with you on this, and you should try to do so. The council have the ability to pay any costs award you might secure, so it's possible to get somebody to do a no win no fee I would have thought although you may have to phone around a bit.

tdlawyer :

Can I ask whether you're happy with the service received today please?

Customer:

And is it a, 'property/land' field/area of expertise solicitor I need to find? Who do you mean by get someone to help you. A solicitor or someone else?

tdlawyer :

By "get somebody to help you" I mean that would be willing to be instructed by you - to help you with this. And I think you just need a "civil litigation" solicitor.

Customer:

OK thanks. Whilst many of the areas I asked about in my question were left unanswered, e.g. police capabilities, can someone be removed or not allowed, what is the definition of a private estate and powers a landlord has, I have some answers for not too much money, so I'm happy. Thanks.

tdlawyer :

I would add, then, to deal with those points: (a) the police do have powers to remove people but only at the request of the landlord/council (b) there is no legal definition as such of a "private" or "public" estate. These are just common terms used by people, but really, the issue is who has legal rights over the estate and to do what.

tdlawyer :

The answer to who has rights etc., is that the leaseholders do, and they can enforce them via the terms of their leases.

tdlawyer :

I hope that's useful.

Customer:

OK, thanks Tony. Bye

tdlawyer :

Thank you! Bye!

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Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience: 11 years experience of general practice.
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