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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I am a leaseholder in a council house. My neighbour's flat

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i am a leaseholder in a council house. My neighbour's flat is leaking and has now affected my lights since 6/8/21. The council are not responding to my emails after they referred me to the housing officer. what can i do now.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I am a leaseholder from southwark , london
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have copied MP, councilorsx3, southwark complaints team into my emails to the department called leak from above. I have tried to get advice from lease advisory service.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I have also paid the electrician to investigate the light problem in my flat and he informed me that the water above has eroded the wire through the conduit.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

You should first follow up the company from the council and ask them for their final response. You will need this before you can escalate this to the Ombudsman - as your dispute is with a council, you can avail of the Ombudsman scheme which is quicker than court action and free of charge. It is the only way forwards without having to sue the council at this stage.

Once you obtain the council's final response and assuming it does not resolve the dispute, you can then involve the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) :

The LGO may be able to help but you would need to firstly exhaust the council's complaints procedure, unless you have done this already. As it is an arbitration scheme, the Ombudsman’s decision would be binding upon the council if you accepted the decision. If you did not accept it you are then free to sue the council and use the courts.

If the Ombudsman does not uphold your complaint, or you disagree with their decision then there is a legal remedy available against a council with it being a public body.

You can issue "Judicial Review" proceedings which is where you involve the court, and a senior judge or panel of judges looks at the legality of a council's decision. If the judge(s) find in your favour, they will make an order which is binding on the public body (e.g. they may say the public body’s decision was invalid) and they are then forced to act to sort the problem out. Further, if your human rights were breached then compensation may also be payable.

The issue with judicial review is that the cases are quite complex, but as a result of that, a law firm can usually recover their legal costs from the council if they win the application. You should be able to have a no win no fee agreement with the law firm, to sue the council. Or if you are in receipt of means tested benefits then legal aid may well be available to you.

Here are a few firms who specialise in this area :

I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you Jim.
I feel better that i have spoken to you and have some actions to undertake with Southwark tomorrow.
Did you say i should ask for their final response.

Yes, so if they do not uphold your complaint then you need their final response, also known as a deadlock letter - you need that before the Ombudsman will accept the case.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Ok. I will work on that tomorrow. Thank you.

My pleasure, have a good evening.
Jim

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you .Have a lovely evening

Many thanks

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