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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi - we own an apartment in a block of flats in London and

Customer Question

Hi - we own an apartment in a block of flats in London and pay the service charge into a management company based on their 6 monthly invoices. We don't live in the flat but stay there maybe once a week and every other weekend although over the past few months we have had to stay mainly up North for work. My partner has though been through and collected mail and in his last collection found a letter from a legal firm saying they had been instructed to collect service charge arrears along with interest and legal fees of £85. This was dated 12 September but we have only just opened it. I rang our property manager, Nigel, who I speak to several times a year to tell him we hadn't received any invoices or demands for the service charge and this legal letter is the first notice we have had. He claimed they had sent three. I think something similar happened last year or the year before but must have dealt with it over the phone before the legal thing as I have no papertrail on that. But we previously rented the flat above, No.12, so I asked him to check whether they had been sent there by mistake. He said he would check and I haven't yet heard back. But when I rang the legal firm to arrange for payment as they wouldn't reduce their fee they informed me that they have since issued a court order (which we haven't received as we haven't been to the property for some time) and that the fees are now £1350. . We feel outraged, especially as I am often in regular contact with Nigel, the manager, via our personal mobiles and he knows we live up North as we have to plan well ahead if he needs us to be in the property for his maintenance access. He was also involved this year in setting up the group cirucular email group (in which we are both included) so that he was able to contact all tenants at any time given that many tenants don't occupy their properties all the time and so mail would not be a reliable method of guaranteed communication (this was in light of serious security issues at the building which the management company were required to address). I wonder whether you are able to suggest any legal grounds we may have to appeal given that I suppose we are unable to prove that we haven't had sight of the 3 demands even if they find a way of proving they sent them? Many thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Have you had a copy of proceedings please? Have you asked them for a copy?

JACUSTOMER-ty4b48o3- :

Hi - yes, we picked up a copy of the proceedings this weekend from the flat.

Alex Watts :

Does the Landlord know your true address for service?