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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I live in sheltered housing - one of 59 flats. I purchased

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I live in sheltered housing - one of 59 flats. I purchased my property as did most of the residents here on a leasehold basis. There is a resident House Manager who lives on site and the leaseholders collectively are responsible for the annual cost of the house managers flat rental as well as maintenance of the maintenance of grounds and buildings which is operated by a management Company who operate the budget and accounts. Every year we residents have to fight to negotiate the annual cost of the house managers flat rental as the Lease just says within reasonable increases. On behalf of the residents I managed to get a reduction of the house managers flat rental for the years 2013 & 2014 and it is very very difficult to contact them as the landlord also has an administration company through which you should communicate. So we have only today (4/07/15)received our cheques individually for overpayment for the above years and the cheques were post dated May, 2015! I have sent all of my letters to the Landlord by recorded delivery and there is a cost to this as well. Is there an independent Ombudsman to whom we could refer - covering developments such as ours because they drag their feet at every stage of the negotiation process every year. Thanks Mrs Karen Price.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I am afraid there is no ombudsman who would deal with issues such as yours, there is a Property Ombudsman who deals with issues with estate agents but not issues with landlords.

However, you may take your complaint to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber-Residential Property), see here for more information about the Tribunal and process:

https://www.gov.uk/housing-tribunals/overview

Hope this helps
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
With written responses from the Landlord or their communications company taking sometimes 2 to 3 months, surely we are entitled to get business completed without protracted stress for the residents. The Landlords operate quite a number of sheltered housing developments, such as ours, which they took over from McCarthy and Stone, and, when we did speak to our present landlord, at a face to face meeting in March, 2014, their Retirement communications Manager, admitted that other developments also contest their annual cost of the house managers flat rental, too. It is obvious that with annual increases, not uncommonly as much as £2000/£3000 up every year, that developments are going to contest this. The Landlords may eventually agree to a reasonable refund but leaseholders have already been required to pay this inflated increase some six months or more when it becomes due and not only is it stressful to have to fight every year to achieve a fair result it is approaching the next account before we actually get the rebate reimbursed by individual cheques. With quite a number of like developments the Landlords are on to a good thing as they are making interest on our monies. I am retired and feel that it is morally wrong to treat us in this way - The Landlord's attitude is that we will give up or 'pass away' and I am most concerned that we do not seem to have any protection to stop this kind of bullying practice. I have achieved (they say as a 'Goodwill gesture' ) that increases for the house managers flat rental for the year 2015/2016 will be at RPI - but this is 1 year only, and, as in the past , the next years rental figure seems to go up to allow for this and, yes, we start the whole protracted process again. Are we entitled to be reimbursed for costs, such as postage, interest & telephone calls without having to go through a small claims court to get this? I have perused the Government site which you suggested, but, as you say, there is little that really reflects Landlords of Sheltered Housing Developments other than the terms of our Leases, which do not seem to be in our favour. The residents of our development have elected me as representative on their behalf but I always decline to have meetings with just the landlord and myself as indeed Landlord would like - Thank you
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
It is sad that the landlord thinks that leaseholders will either pass away or give up. I would advise you to go to the Tribunal and dispute the reasonableness of these charges which are effectively service charges as the Tribunal has the power to determine whether or not such charges are reasonable and whether the provisions of your leases are reasonable.See here for further information http://www.lease-advice.org/information/faqs/print_faq.asp?section=20All the best
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