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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 777
Experience:  Experienced solicitor
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Hi I am a leaseholder of a shared onwership property which

Customer Question

Hi

I am a leaseholder of a shared onwership property which has a) monthly rent charge and b) service charge. The service charge covers, window cleaning, grounds keeping, hoovering inside the property and lift maintainace. The service charge increases annually and for all of the time I have been in my property (5 years) only the hooerving and life charge happens. I have been in a constant battle with Genesis Housing about the things that do not and have never happened i.e. window cleaning, grounds keeping since I have been here. Now the service charge has gone up again to which I am refusing to pay on the grounds I amnot paying for what doesn't happen. The majority of people iin this block of apartments are of the same mindset and are not paying too. Surely Geneis are in breach of contract, if not fraud????

Also, after speaking to other residents who like myself have spent of small furtune for these apartments - bought them because it was advertised in the selling as 'secure access' meaning that there was going to be a barrier installed with key code access into the complex. This is now not happening, for whatever reasons. This was the main selling point for myself and others, this is what I bought into the fact that it was going to be secure. So for me this is another breach surley!!!

On another note. Someone in the block is smoking cannabis. I contacted the police who advised that the person is behind closed doors and that there was nothing that they could do. The smell permeates the 'communal areas' and makes me and others feel quite ill. Geneis have only started 'investigating' but their version of investigting was sending a letter out to the residence and that was it. The issue still continues to this day.

I just feel like they don't give a monkeys but feeling like now there must be some legal things that can be done as they are ripping us off and need to be held accountable.

Kind Regards
Camille Wray
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello. I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this. In order to help you wit this I need t know what your lease says about increases in service charges and f there is any system built into it to resolve disputes.

JACUSTOMER-3bbx10rp- :

Hello. the lease says that annual 'adjustments' will be made. These 'adjustments' never decrease but alwyas increase.

LondonlawyerJ :

is there nothing in the lease about disputes re: the services to be provided out of the service charge and disputes re: the adjustments to the charge?

JACUSTOMER-3bbx10rp- :

to follow their complaints preocedure, which clearly doesn't work

LondonlawyerJ :

What is the complaints procedure? Before considering any action for their apparent breaches it would be sensible to follow the procedure fully. Was it Genesis who made the representations about the security gate? I have had a long day in court today which is catching up with me now, so I am unlikely to look at this site again tonight. We can resume this conversation tomorrow morning if that is OK with you.

JACUSTOMER-3bbx10rp- :

The complaints procedure is thus: Write, email or phone Customer relaations department in order to raise a case. This has been followed fully but nothing happens and end up contunally chasing them via phone to find out what is going on to which there are no answers an no one takes any action. In terms of the security gate this is on the design plan, and Geneis housing Group and Bedfordshire Borough Council planning application/documentation

LondonlawyerJ :

Yes, it would seem that Genesis are in breach of their contract to service the block. Although a withholding of service charge may be one tactic to take in legal terms it is not the right one. You should write to them pointing out the deficiencies of their services to them and especually where that falls short of what they are contracted to provide. You should demand that they immediately attend to the services they have neglected and compensate you for the lack of services provided. Y can calculate this eg by working out what percentage of services have not been provided over the last 5 years and then claim that percentage of the service charge back (so if you think they have only done half of what they should have done then claim 50% of the service charge you have paid). You should demand action within a specified time and threaten to issue a claim in the small claims court against them if they do not do so. If a number of you in the block all do this it may have some effect.

LondonlawyerJ :

Thia isi the link to the government site on bringing a small money claim https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/overview

LondonlawyerJ :

The more of you who do this the more effective it will be. In terms of the cannabis use this is a policing issue and there is little that Genesis can do. Do you know which flat it is? Are they co-owners too?

LondonlawyerJ :

As far as the barriers are concerned were these promised as part of the conditions of sale? Were the plans as described by you promised at the time of purchase or were any specific representations made about them?

JACUSTOMER-3bbx10rp- :

In terms of the cannabis, I have called the ploice and said there was nothing that they could do as the person was smoking it behond the privacy of the own door.

JACUSTOMER-3bbx10rp- :

The barriers were promised as part of the conditions of sale.And the plans as described by me promised at the time of purchase.

LondonlawyerJ :

The police do not always respect the privacy of people's homes, but you can not force them to investigate if they do not wish to do so. As far as the barriers are concerned f they were promised at the time of purchase then it seems the vendors are in breach of contact to you and your fellow residents and you might be able to bring an action for compensation or for an order for specific performance for the installation of the gates.

JACUSTOMER-3bbx10rp- :

So, if the police aren't willing to investigate, and there is nothing (as you have said) that Genesis can do, are you trying to say that we just have to live with the filthy smell? I hope that is not what you are saying.

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