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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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A firm of solicitors wrote to all residents of an apartment

Customer Question

A firm of solicitors wrote to all residents of an apartment block. They were claiming to the lease had been transferred, and required substantial information, this claim was 100% false we later found out, and the solicitors had contacted all the residents incorrectly. However after receipt of the letter, all the residents contacted our management agents, who subsequently had to get involved writing to the solicitors and all residents to confirm the error of this solicitors.

However we the resident incurred a small cost for from our management agents for resolving the matter, as this is not covered by our management fee.

Subsequently the solicitors have refused to pay this loss we have incurred., claiming we have no legal basis for a claim in the small claims court. Therefore what would be the legal basis for a claim in the county court?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : How much would any claim be please?
JACUSTOMER-73m5iqk5- :

Only a few hundred pounds, but it is the principal of the matter.

JACUSTOMER-73m5iqk5- :

The crux of the matter does not seem to be the dispute they made a error, or we have incurred costs, the problem is they say we have no basis to issue a claim, something we need to state prior to issuing a claim, and on the claim form. We believe we have incurred a loss due to there negligence, they claim this is not a "basis" to claim in the county court. They say there is not "duty of care" so negligence is not a factor, and as we have no contract "costs have not been agreed and cannot be claimed"

Alex Watts : On what basis was the letter false, who were they instructed by to send the letter please?
JACUSTOMER-73m5iqk5- :

The letter was false as they had not taken over the lease or Freehold, and had no reason to contact us, and even when the error was explained by our management company they still never apologised or contacted us to highlight the error. Furthermore they claim to our management company that they there client advised them, but they wont supply details of who they are.

JACUSTOMER-73m5iqk5- :

They have also suggested to our management company the cost of the error should be passed to the residents, despite we are 100% innocent in this mater.

Alex Watts : If they have sent out a fake letter then they are responsible for the costs.
Alex Watts : The legal basis would be negligence as they have a duty to make sure they do not send out false letters. Indeed it may be possible to say it is fraud if they knew or ought to have known what they were saying was false.
Alex Watts : In those circumstances you should bring a claim.
Alex Watts : As long as your total loss is less than £10,000 it would be a small claim in any event so you would not need legal representation.
Alex Watts : Even if you lost costs are not normally recoverable.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
JACUSTOMER-73m5iqk5- :

Our management company suggested the basis for a claim was negligence and they responded with "A claim in negligence requires a legal duty of care to be established. There is no such duty in this case and such claim is therefore bound to fail."

Alex Watts :

There is a duty - they have a duty to make sure the letters they send out are accurate and factually correct.

Alex Watts :

Does this help?