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I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
Usually it would be your landlord who you should threaten legal action or take to court. They would then almost certainily make a claim against their agents.. I fear that the agents are provably correct in what they say. You should look at your lease to see who is responsible fro the repairs etc and it will very likely be the landlord. If it is the landlord you must contact them and explain the position and give them a chance to make things right.
Thank you answer. I could possibly agree if we are talking about not cleaning the gutters (and because of that we now have to pay to re-point a 3storey Victorian house, which is very very expensive) or not maintaining the roof or gutters. But they were our first point of contact in any emergencies. One of the waste pipes was damaged. We informed them straight away, they arranged to come and put some silicone (it was in the middle of winter and obviously a few days later it started leaking again. We informed them again and this time they did not take any notice, therefore our basement flat was completely flooded. We informed them and had to do emergency repairs as due to the fuse box being on a completely soaked wall, it was a fire hazard whole building. They did not react and refused to forward our builders' invoice to the insurance company (as we did not submit 2 separate quotes from builders before starting the works). . Despite knowing about the leak they still did not fix it. Our builders temporarily fixed it free of charge, but obviously it leaked again as it was not fixed properly. And again our flat was completely damaged. This time we submitted 2 separate quotes. Waited couple of weeks to respond and then emailed them informing that we can't keep the flat in that state and that we would have to start working on it. We forwarded the invoice to them. They accepted it and kept repeating that they were waiting response from the insurance company. After a few months they said, that the claim was rejected due to us not providing 2 quotes beforehand. When we disputed that, they said that they decided not to take it to the insurance company at all as the leak was not fixed and they claim would have been rejected. But it was their fault that the leak was not fixed. In my opinion it is not even insurance to cover the costs as the damage was only due to their negligence. I am not sure whether our freeholder has anything to do with this. As Remus were responsible our money and sorting our problems. I understand that there is a lot of information and I really appreciate your help. Many Thanks and KInd Regards, Zaneta
Is there any contract between you and Remus? What does your lease say about service charges and repairs, Have your landlords notified you that Remus are their agents and to contact them?
We had a lease report solicitors, when we bought the flat . It said: Maintenance and Insurance "The Landlord(or Management Company) is responsible the building, subject to you contributing along with other lessees an equal sum toward the buildings insurance premium. The landlord is also responsible our repairs and maintenance to the structure of the building, the common areas and common services (gutter, drains, cable etc) subject to you and the other lessees reimbursing the costs of these services. This sum is known as Services Charge. You are responsible own property's internal repair, maintenance, and redecoration and your own contents insurance" Landlords obligations or covenants : ...in cases where the landlord or the management company is responsible and the structure of the building this will mainly oblige the landlord to carry out all the services you will have to pay your annual charges"
The lease itself says: Landlord agrees with the tenant: To provide the services listed in the fifth schedule the occupiers of the building and in so doing 1. the landlord may engage the services of whatever employees agents contractors consultants and advisors the landlord considers necessary. 2. the landlord shall not be liable failure or delay caused by industrial disputes, shortage of supplies, inclement weather and other causes beyond the control of the landlord.
We did not have the contract. Nobody actually informed us about them in writing. We simply received service charge notices and paid them in time.
Actually I have just discovered Remus' first letter to us, where they introduce themselves and say, that they have been appointed to assist the landlord in undertaking their responsibilities."Your property has been allocated to this office which will look after the day-to-day management of your property"
Having looked at this I think my initial answer is right, it is the landlord who is responsible to the exterior, it is not clear if the issues you refer to are day to day management issues, arguably not. You should contact your landlords, explain what has happened and require them to take action. An action against Remus would run a real risk off failing. The primary duty lies with the landlord.
Thank you. Last question then. I know, that we should have thought about this before, but after receiving some quotes from builders, that we so furious, that we just went to small claims court. The hearing is scheduled next month. In your opinion, what should we all do now? Kind Regards, Zaneta
I think that there is a real risk based on what you have told me that your claim may fail. However the consequence of a claim failing in the small claims court is almost always just a loss of time and an order to pay the other parties reasonable expenses (not legal costs). You might therefore think that you have little to lose pursuing it to trial and seeing what happens. I would suggest that you contact the freeholders, let them know the situation and see if they can help you eg by providing a letter of instructions to the agent instructing them to act re: this sort of disrepair. That might help but the fundamental problem of the lack of a direct contract will remain.
Thank you help. It is much appreciated.