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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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We own a rental flat (leasehold) we pay the freeholder

Resolved Question:

We own a rental flat (leasehold) for which we pay the freeholder (management company) a service charge. In June 2014 major structural issues were found with the building for whith the freeholder was responsible. They *eventually* put temporary roof supports in our flat but have since failed to fix the issues with the building.
We have withheld our service charge as we believe them to be in breach of contract for making the repair works and as we are losing rental income due to having reduced rent due to the inconvenience of roof supports in the flat.
Do we have a claim for breach of contract? And if so should be continue to withold our service charge or pay it and then take legal action.
Also can we force the repairs to the building?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : For now please let me know why they have refused to fix the roof
Customer:

They haven't refused to fix it, they have put supports in to ensure the roof doesn't collapse and cause injury but have since done nothing to get it fixed. We keep chasing them for an update and keep getting fobbed off (we think they may not have the money to do the works)

Customer:

They have sent out section 20 notices but this was done end of last year and still nothing.

Customer:

When we ring up to speak to them about it we are told to just email and they refuse to talk to us. And never respond to our enquiries.

Customer: Hi any update on this?
Alex Watts :

Do you know the cost of getting the work done please?

Alex Watts :

Sorry for the delay, I was in Court

Customer:

Around £3,500 + VAT

Alex Watts : What is it you want to achieve, the roof fixed?
Customer: Yes, we have no problem paying the service charge but we are losing rental money as the flat can't be used properly due to massive floor to roof supports. We just want it fixed and they don't seem to be in any hurry to fix it whatsoever (as I said this started last June).
Alex Watts : Ok you need to write and ask them to do the work within 14 days or say you will seek a court order against them
Alex Watts : if they refuse then you can issue proceedings. You would need to complete form N1
Alex Watts : http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf
Alex Watts : You are asking the court for an order that they do the work and for damages.
Alex Watts : The court will send the other side a copy and they will have a limited time to defend it.
Alex Watts : If they do not then a judge can make an order that they do the work - this is called specific performance
Alex Watts : If they do not then this is Contempt of court and they can be warned, fined or sent to prison
Alex Watts : You can also claim for damages which can be assessed by the court
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: Ok that's great. Should we pay the service charge arrears before we do this?
Customer: Sorry two more things...
Customer: 1. Are we asking for the work to be started within 14 days (as I don't think it would be complete within 14 days)
Customer: 2. If we do need to claim, is the amount claimed just our damages or the cost of doing the work?
Alex Watts : 1) you could say start but they may be very slow so perhaps extend to 28 days
Alex Watts : 2) cost of doing the work plus some damages
Alex Watts : Does that help?
Customer: Yes perfect. And finally I assume it's best to pay our service charge arrears before doing any of this?
Alex Watts : Yes I would pay it because technically your property could be forfeit
Customer: Ok great, thanks for the help and advice!
Alex Watts : Happy to help.
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