In a recent case, our client, a landlord with a small development of properties which he managed himself, was struggling with a leaseholder who was withholding payment of their service charge and major works contribution.
Bradys’ service charge specialists worked with our client to issue a claim for the recovery of the arrears, including a sum for a reserve fund to contribute to the major works that had been agreed and approved by the leaseholders.
The defaulting leaseholder issued a defence and a counterclaim. The grounds for the defence were based on the reasonableness (both quality and cost) of the services provided. The grounds for the counter-claim concerned an alleged £6,000 of water damage to the leaseholder’s flat.
The hearing took place at the First Tier Tribunal (formerly the LVT), where the tribunal chairman agreed with our arguments that a) the service was reasonable in terms of both quality and quantity, and b) it represented good planning and management to build a reserve fund for the planned future works.
The FTT ordered that the arrears, including the reserve fund sum, be paid in full. This will enable to works to commence as planned and for the landlord to get the maintenance of the development back on track.
Interestingly, the FTT chairman also passed comment on the water damage counterclaim, advising that the evidence indicated that the damage had come from the flat above and so was outside of the landlord’s responsibility. This expert comment is likely to have a strong bearing on the counterclaim when it is heard at county court, and may lead to it being struck out.
For help and advice with cases at the First Tier Tribunal please contact Brady Solicitors on 0115 985 3450 or drop us an email.