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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We bought a flat 2 years ago and the day we completed we

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We bought a flat 2 years ago and the day we completed we received a maintenance summons for £6000. The property manager indicated on the property summary form that there were upcoming works to the exterior of the building but never gave any indication that substantial costs would be involved although we suspect they had obviously had quotes in before we had even thought about purchasing the flat. We also believe the previous owners had an indication works were upcoming. The property manager even posted us an invoice in December 2014 to the flats postbox although obviously we would never have had access to it until we completed.Appreciate time is ticking by but to this day I still think what they done was against the law. Please advise?Thank you

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.

  1. May I clarify that you have been sent a demand for payment from the property manager not a court summons at this stage please?
  2. Did your solicitor obtain a leasehold questionaire form from the sellers - the standard form that is used nationally is named LPE1?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
1) Yes that is correct - past tense though, we purchased in Feb 2015 and the demand was dated Dec 2014 (or the Friday we completed, I can't remember which)
2) Yes

Many thanks. Do you know if the property manager has served formal s20 notices for consultation for major works before sending out the invoices?

On the Leasehold information form do you know what the nprevious owners answered to the question as to whether they anticipated any excess charges above normal service charge in the then current financial year?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I would have to look through our paperwork again but am pretty sure it is all dated before we completedYes they said they didn't know
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The Section 20 was dated April 2013

Thank you. In terms of any claim you may have against the previous owners, as a starting point you would need to be able to point to something false that they stated in written disclosures they made to your solicitor - e.g. a false statement on the above form or elsewhere in correspondence. If they stated they did not know and nothing further was followed up upon, bringing a claim may be difficult unless you can show that they were on the balance of probability aware of the major works. This may be possible if you can show that they were sent previous demands, partiuclarly if they responded to such demands or attended any meetings for example.

If incorrect information was provided by the property manager in response to questions raised by the seller and for which the seller paid the property manager a fee - normally this information would be obtained by the seller and provided to your solicitor - again you may have an action available to you for misrepresentation by the seller. In this respect it appears you may have a more solid basis for action as from what you say there is a clear response in the negative to there being additional costs either owning or unbilled but anticipated costs.

On the basis you can show that a) there was a misrepresntation and b) you have or will suffer a loss as a result of that misrepresentation, you have the basis of a claim available to you. In the first instance you can consider reverting to your solicitor to advise them of the position and ask them to check the file ro confirm there is no disclosure regarding these works which they did not advise you of. If there is and they didn't then they may be liable to you for negligence. If there isn't as you anticipate you can ask them for their opinion as regards ***** ***** claim for loss given the documents they hold and ask them to send you any documentation they have which you do not. In particular you will need the sale contract.

Your claim will not necessarily be for the full amount as there will be an argumet you may benefit from the works, but rather the amount you may argue that you would have sought to reduce the price by if you had known about the demand. This will be a matter of judgement at this stage but you can put your position forward as to your likely actions at the time had you known and it would be for a judge to listen to any defence the sellers raise and then to make a judgement on what he considers is reasonable.

A claim can be issue using the online issuing service if you decide to proceed to court: https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

Legal costs cannot be claimed in the small claims court so costs should be limited and can be reclaimed if you are successful.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Joshua and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you - will leave appropriate feedback

Many thanks. Do come back to me if I can assist any further.