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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 778
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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The communal areas in the privately-owned leasehold block of

Customer Question

The communal areas in the privately-owned leasehold block of flats where I live have coving/cornicing and polished wood doors, skirting boards and handrails throughout the building of 8 floors.
The ground floor consists of a corridor and reception area which are due for redecoration and the Directors have decided to remove the coving/cornicing completely and to paint over the polished wood.
This is only part of their planned refurbishment but the only part which is of concern to me. There are no plans to change the other floors where people have their homes but eventually that may be the intention.
My question is can the Directors do this as some flat owners are objecting but I do not not know the proportion.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 1 year ago.
Customer:

Hello I am a solictor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

Customer:

This may not be the answer you are hoping for but you need to have a look at the lease. Also you refer to Directors , is this directors of a management company that is responsible for levying service charges and maintaining the premises? Look at the documents surrounding this organisation for their rules. This is in essence a contract dispute so you need to look at the contracts as a starting point.

Customer:

Also can yo let me know what your position in this dispute is please?

JACUSTOMER-xey6pq5b- :

I am a resident Owner, the same as each of the five Directors, I have looked at the lease but cannot find any reference to an event like this. In this case then, could it be a matter of common law rights that I have protection inasmuch as nobody can alter the internal appearance except for the repainting of what is already painted and, of course, renewal of worn parts. The Directors, however, argue that the corridor and reception area need updating which is OK with me except for the changes that are made which contrast with the rest of the building. Hope you can understand this and can say if there is a protection of rights since the building will not be structured as I purchased it.

Customer:

The answer to this will vary according to who owns what interests in the property. This is a service charge issue. What does the lease say about service charges. You and the other owners have a leasehold interest in the property. Are the managing agents instructed by the freehold landlord?

Customer:

This is not about common law rights there is lot of legislation on this area but what our rights are will depend on the interest you hold in your property and who is levying the service charge.

JACUSTOMER-xey6pq5b- :

Thank you. I have a 999 yr lease from 1999. I pay an annual service/maintenance charge to the Managing Agents. The current value of the property which I jointly own with my wife is 1.6 mill stlg. The Managing Agents are appointed by a Board of Directors of the Management Company.

JACUSTOMER-xey6pq5b- :

The Board of Directors want to change the look of part of the building to which I and others object as it will change what we purchased and I want to find out if there is a legal process which will stop the Board from making the changes and to simply redecorate what is already existing. To further illustrate the problem, if the whole of the interior common parts were to be changed in the same way it would cost hundreds of thousand of pounds because the building is sizeable and accommodates 85 individual apartments. so they only intend to change the ground floor which will make future buyers hesitate when they see a contrast of design within the same building.

Customer:

It may be that your best way of challenging these charges is to argue that they have not been reasonably incurred and therefore can not be recovered. These are alterations (improvements no doubt according to the landlord). The landlord has duty to consult about the works. There are complex rules about this. You also have a right to quite a lot of information. The rules are very complex and it is a specialist area of legal prcactice and you -and any other concerned occupiers- should instruct a solicitor together.

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