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John LLB
John LLB, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 166
Experience:  8 years legal experience
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I have lived for 3 years in a leasehold flat complex of 24

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I have lived for 3 years in a leasehold flat complex of 24 flats. We have always had problems with the maintenance company. Especially regarding ever increasing costs and what we feel is unnecessary work carried out. We contacted our landlord in view of dismissing them and getting a new company. They say we have a Residents Management Company and it is our responsibility. They have never employed them. On our leases it states that a company called Needlestar was our management company, but ceased existing in approx 2008/2010. The landlord also told us that as we had no Management Company in place we cannot/ shouldn’t be selling our flats and will be unable to extend our leases. Which a few people wish to do. No one in the complex has ever heard of Needlestar. We have seen a solicitor who says that the leases state that if the management company ceases to exist then it is the Landlords right to take over and in principle they are able to sack the maintenance company and replace them on our behalf. This has been going on for months. Both companies have failed to provide a contract of employment. They have both stopped responding to our solicitor and we are now out of pocket and no further advanced since starting earlier in the year. Just wondered if you had any suggestions on the next step forward. Many of the residents are elderly, on pensions, first time buyers with mortgages and spoke with young children. We cannot afford these ever increasing costs. Many thank. Susan ***** *****
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Our solicitor has emailed and telephoned both parties numerous times. Especially wanting to see the contract stating the maintenance company is employed by the landlords. Neither company has given a direct reply. Especially the maintenance company. At present he has had no contact from them for over 2 weeks. Despite his last email stating he wanted evidence of the contact by close of business. Sorry to ask but what are your charges?
JA: Where is the leasehold located?
Customer: In Burwell, near Cambridge. I rather think we need a specialist tenency solicitor
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just the cost.

Please tell your solicitor to send a letter before action to the landlord and the management company and within it request a Pre Action Disclosure of the contract of employment. If they still fail to reply then your solicitor can make an application to the court on your behalf, for punitive damages.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you. Will let him know. How much do you think this will cost us? If they fail to reply, which they probably will, and it ends up in court what are punitive damages? It’s a nightmare our solicitors are dealing with their solicitors and they never respond.

The cost will be discussed and agreed with you and your solicitors. They should have explained and agreed funding with you prior to your instruction. Punitive damages are damages intended to “punish” the Defendants. Of course there may be other damages involved in your situation but it would be a lot easier, and cheaper, for both parties not to ignore each other and let the matter proceed to court, as courts prefer issues are dealt with as they are only to be used as a method of last resort.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Than you for all your help.

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