View Full Version : Anyone know any property law?

Golden Monkey
24th Nov 2001, 19:52
I know it's not aviation related but I AM on the top floor, so it's kinda elevated. :)

Legal question : I am currently being threatened with court action if I fail to pay 1,300 up front for re-roofing work that the managing agent of my block of flats has arranged for NEXT JUNE.

There are 24 flats in the block and the agency will therefore gain about 30,000 to play with for at least seven months before they pay for the work.

Do the thieving crims have any legal right to demand payment now?

24th Nov 2001, 20:07
You need to check your lease contract.

Without knowing anything about the situation, it's entirely possible that they won't have the money - that it will be paid over in advance, in exchange for a lower price on the job - or that they'll put the money on the short-term market in the meantime to earn, thus cutting the cost to you of the job...

I can think of all sorts of valid reasons why they might do this.

You need to get your contract to a solicitor, and have him go over it, and any letters, minutes of meetings, etc. concerning this project.

Without checking all of that, anything else is useless speculation.

Golden Monkey
24th Nov 2001, 20:40
Thanks for the reply Hugmonster.

Well, the lease is (obviously), excessively wordy and hard to make sense of. Seems to have been written in the era of Dickens. Beyond the regular maintenance payments however, they doesn't seem to be any express declaration of a right to demand excessively advanced payment for building work.

The price for the second installment, next summer, has already been fixed so any profits they make from this 50% downpayment certainly won't find it's way back to the tenants. Unfortunately there is no tenants association to counter such demands. Being fairly new to the block I intend to rectify that at some point in the near future.

Also unfortunately, the lower couple of floors are populated by old dears who are easily scared by such letters and over half of the block have paid up. Which weakens my position somewhat. I will, however, be seeking some legal advice on Monday.

Cheers, SSS

25th Nov 2001, 02:35
Ah! Careful here. I seem to remember a little scam exposed in Watchdog about this about 18 months ago. Not only was it a bit of a scam, the work required cost no-where near the figure being asked for.

Seems that the managers were skimming - just like you suggested. But as Huggy says check your lease. And if you don't fully understand it get a lawyer who does. Could save you a bin of money.

25th Nov 2001, 04:44
Agreed, IFR - it could well be a scam. But don't jump to any conclusions till you've seen a solicitor. And you must see a solicitor.

And you definitely need a Residents' Association. They're not hard to set up. I did that for a rather smaller block years ago when I lived in London. You don't need anything like 100% of the residents to start it. Make sure, BTW, that it's a Residents' and not a Tenants' Association. The two aren't the same. Your solicitor will also be able to advise you on this, and should agree to defer his charges until it's set up, and the Association can pay him out of subscriptions, rather than you fronting all the cost yourself.

25th Nov 2001, 07:05
I really don't know anything about law at all but I cannot see that any court would uphold a request for money to be paid seven months before the work is even due to begin.

It might be reasonable to expect a deposit closer to the time for purchase of materials etc. but this request sounds completely out of order.

Even if you do have to pay, there is still the possibility that the company which has quoted for the work may be running a scam and your money and everyone else's will just disappear.

There is also the chance that, even if the company is genuine, it may run into financial difficulty down the track and cease to trade. Again, you will lose your money.

In the event of your actually having to pay this money so early, I would be looking for some cast iron guarantees from both the owners of your property and the roofing company that your money is safe. Personal guarantee, directors guarantee or whatever you can get.

It does seem important that you seek legal advice and, to help with those expenses, perhaps the other tenants who have not yet paid up might like to chip in so that you can all share the benefit of the advice you receive.

Good luck with it.