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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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On 23rd September 2014 The First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber

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On 23rd September 2014 The First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber determined that an imposed increase to £7,634 pa* in cleaning charges made by the Managing Agents (Network Stadium) of our group property (Orleans Court, Douglas Street, London SW1P 4PB) was " unreasonable" and that "the applicant's estimate of £3,156 was reasonable".
*These charges were first imposed from July 2013
The Managing Agents initial response was to challenge the ruling but as they failed to meet the appeal date they dropped their proposed objection. They continued however to delay any payment/refund/adjustment of charges as determined by the Tribunal.
Eventually they attempted in February 2015 to claim that any refunds should only be made from the date of the ruling.
When this was challenged (through the Managing Agents own Complaints System) the agents proposed in March 2015 that refunds would be made from July 2013, subject to withdrawal of the complaint.
In the hope of reaching a settlement the Residents' Association withdrew their complaint.
To date no refunds have been forthcoming.
Questions: a: Were the Managing Agents acting 'properly' by making the withdrawal of an official complaint a condition of any refund?
b; What action can I take if the agents continue to delay/refuse to make appropriate refunds?
Thank you in advance for your help/advice
Gordon Rae
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask who brought the application please - just you on your own or a group of residents jointly?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

One of our residents brought the action but Network Stadium wrote on 19th February 2015 "although the ruling only applies to***** Network Stadium have agreed with the current supplier (Clean Green) to honour the amount set for all residents".

The complaint was lodged by me on behalf of the Residents' Association and it was this complaint that was withdrawn by the Chair of the Assoiciation.

Thank you. From what you say do I understand correctly that the managing agents have debited monies based on the higher amount and therefore owe money back based on the Tribunal decision to each of the residents which is still to be paid?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

That is correct.

All maintenance charges are paid by direct debits or standing order.

Thank you. The decision of the tribunal is enforceable in the county courts as if it were a county court judgement following the The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. Accordingly the resident applicant or if he prefers, he can ask you to do this on your behalf, can contact the managing agents and advise them that they have 10 days to make the refunds due failing which he will apply to enforce the decision of the tribunal in the county court using bailiffs or if you have the bank details for the managing agents, a third party debt order - this is an order served directly on the managing agents bank to transfer funds as specified without the agents consent. Costs can also be claimed. The forms required for the above actions are: In specific answer to your questions:a) The agents had no right to require you to withdraw your complaint before making settlement. It may have been a tactical error to do so because the complaint outcome could have potentially required them to make settlement which presumably is what they hoped to avoid. Probably the better approach would have been that the complaint would be withdrawn following settlement but not before but what is done is done. You could check the rules of the redress scheme but I believe that most schemes rules prevent a further identical complaint being made following withdrawal of a complaint but it may be worth checking if you can reinstate the complaint if this is desired.b) If it is not possible reinstate the complaint it is still possible for the resident who made the application to the tribunal to enforce the decision using the approach outlined above so even if the complaint cannot be reinstated it is not a particular problem. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
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