Michele C owns a flat in Woking, Surrey, and had a leak in her bathroom ceiling. She had repeatedly told the managing agent about this, but nothing was being done.
The LEASE adviser suggested a variety of options, from obtaining an order for specific performance, through to Right to Manage or buying the freehold. Ms C was advised that another option might be self-help, where she would arrange the repair herself, and deduct (“set-off”) the cost of the work from future service charge bills.
Before exercising self-help a leaseholder should be sure to write to their landlord and:
- highlight the clause in the lease that has been broken (eg, landlord’s responsibility to keep common parts in good repair);
- specify what is required to address the issue (eg, water damage);
- specify a reasonable period of time for it to be addressed; and
- state that if, at the end of that period, the issue has not been resolved satisfactorily they will select the cheapest of 3 quotes they are copying to their landlord, and carry out the work themself.
The leaseholder should ensure the work is carried out properly and expenditure is appropriate.
It is important before going down this route to ensure that there is nothing in the lease that prevents any set-off.
Ms C said that the advice was “was prompt, informative, and absolutely needed”.
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