Back in March 2021 we were instructed by one of our managing agent clients to assist them in collecting service charge arrears for a property within an affluent area of North London. Whilst being instructed by our client, they also informed us that the leaseholder had sadly passed away and they were therefore unsure of how to proceed with collecting the arrears, which would continue to increase until dealt with.
Barriers to overcome
As is the case for many instructions we deal with there were several barriers needed to be overcome here on behalf of the client. The first was identifying who the beneficiary for the property was, as they would now be responsible for arranging payment of the arrears. The beneficiary’s contact details would then need to be established to ensure they were aware of the arrears. In this instance it was also discovered that the beneficiary lived abroad in Bulgaria, which brought with it further challenges, including a language barrier, which made the case even harder.
Bradys’ approach and outcome
Utilising our previous experience of similar scenarios, we were able to locate an email address for the beneficiary swiftly and began contacting them to make them aware of the situation regarding the property and the related service charge arrears, as well as the options available to them for payment. Following multiple emails to contact them, a response was eventually received from their solicitors, who had been passed our emails by their client.
The next step was to educate them as to how the arrears had come about and what options were available to them to resolve the matter. However, this proved difficult as neither their English or our Bulgarian were very strong. Additionally, the beneficiary and their solicitors were not quick in responding. We did persevere, as failure to receive payment would have meant involving the courts for repossession. Although this was an option we were of course willing to take, had we needed to do so, it would have been extremely time-consuming and therefore costly for the client. Due to this we continued to work towards a payment of the arrears by the debtor.
Through our tenacious approach and reluctance to let the case progress to the courts, we were able to agree upon a resolution. We eventually arranged for the debtor to make three substantial payments over the course of three months. These payments not only covered the arrears in question, but also all of the associated costs with their recovery, leaving our client with a full strength maintenance budget again.
One of the client’s directors commented:
“We’re delighted to have recovered the arrears in full. We had begun to resign ourselves to never recovering the service charges once we established the beneficiary lived abroad. To have recovered the arrears, as well as the associated costs is a fantastic result. Thanks Bradys”