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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.
The costs have spiralled because the management company has not done their job in a timely manner. That cost is a service charge which you must challenge. You should tell them you will refuse payment until the outcome of the tribunal's decision is known.
You can involve the First Tier (Property) Tribunal in the dispute with the company. Assuming you own the leasehold. The application costs £100 unless you qualify for a fee exemption, so if you are on a low income, have low savings or in receipt of benefits. If you do, this form must also be used when you apply :
The tribunal route is quicker than the county court claims procedure and it's one form which you will need to complete and send to your regional tribunal. The tribunal will then make a decision and indeed it has the power to remove a management company for another one to ensure good management of the property.
The Tribunal is made up of 3 people: A lawyer (Chairman), a surveyor/valuer (who could also be Chairman), and a lay person (member of the public). You can present the dispute to them in person or use a firm (such as either of these law firms : https://www.bishopslaw.co.uk/first-tier-tribunal-property-chamber-advice/ or www.bradysolicitors.com who have a specialist department for these Tribunal claims). The latter firm also offers a free guide on how to change managing agents : https://www.bradysolicitors.com/taking-back-control/changing-managing-agent/
The hearing itself is quite informal.
Once made, the order is then binding - if the order is ignored then the county court will recognise it and you can apply for an injunction to force them to comply.
You will need to fill out the relevant form and then email it to your regional Tribunal. The Tribunal should then make a decision within 6-8 weeks.
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.
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.