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Management Company questionnaire

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« on: October 03, 2014, 03:32:57 PM »

Hi

I wonder if anyone can advise. I bought a terraced house (mews type house) as part of 16 houses in a converted Victorian school in November 2013. It has communal gardens and roof, car park which I pay a service charge of 950 to a managing agent.

As soon as I moved in I started getting letters about quotes the agent was getting for the roof repairs. I knew nothing about it. Anyway since then it turns out the turrets on the houses (there isn't one above mine) and the roof needs fixing as some people are getting leaks and damp (we don't have either). In the lease it says we have to pay for these communally and the quotes are coming in at 80,000-100,000! So ours would be around 5-8k dependant on which quote we all go for.

I looked at my conveyancing stuff and the management agent filled in a questionnaire before we moved in saying only redecoration was needed at a total of around 10k (so less than 1k a flat). I've asked her why she didn't say about it and she said firstly she only took over 1st October so she wouldn't have known about it and then secondly that it was only December they all realised the roof was leaking and told her. I don't believe her as it seems too far down the line for her not to have known.

Is there anything I can do to claim this money back? I would never have bought the house if I knew it had such a lot of work needing doing and simply don't have any more money to pay for it!
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2014, 04:17:44 PM »

Firstly, it's unlikely it will matter if your specific property doesn't exhibit the issues other properties do due to a roof issue. You are all in this together, so to speak.

Secondly, to avoid major outlays hitting you like this a well-run budget would include a sinking fund whereby each leaseholder pays slightly more, but manageable, amount each year... then, when the roof does need replacing, the sinking fund is used. I assume you don't have one, or it hasn't grown enough, yet, to be of much use. People in the properties don't usually like the additional payment as no-one ever thinks of a rainy day.

It is perfectly possible this was not known about, certainly at this level of detail, at the time of your purchase. It might have been noticed recently, it might be being assessed at the early stages, it might be a non-issue at the time... the fact is that it is an issue now (Dec 2013). Like you, I'd be suspicious as well... but I still don't know if you can get out of it.

Queries I'd have... was there a previous owner and did they know? What are the exact dates when the issue was not and someone decided to do something about it? When did the quotes for the work come in? Can you see the quotes? These are mostly factual type pieces of information that should be black and white. Have you spoken to your Conveyancer already?
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