I posted elsewhere on this web about my personal experience of property managers sending false accounts, refusing to produce accounts compliant with s21 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (prosecuting body local councils have only a discretion to intervene) and disregarding County Court Orders regarding repairs and accounts with total impunity. If you look at the website for CARL and for SELCHA – two grass roots organisations of victims of rogue property managers/freeholders you will see that there is a massive problem in the South East and probably throughout UK with freeholders and their agents sending false accounts (police wont prosecute) and misappropriating service charge funds and pocketting the difference between actual expenditure and stated expenditure (sometimes 1000% – one thousand percent – markup). In 1985 Parliament passed legislation to help the flat-owners, presumably acknowledging problems accessing county court for breach of covenant it gave local authorities powers. Parliament also acknowledged the problem when creating the LVT, Leasehold Valuation Tribunal which has the power to remove a rogue property manager and to check the service charges. Sadly the LVT has earned itself a reputation for being corrupt, and I can happily give details of evidence of this should you like. CARL and SELCHA may also display details on their websites. They suggest the LVT be replaced by a housing ombudsman. I dont know how much the LVT costs the taxpayer, how much its adjudicators cost, but they should return the money because the are not discharging their duties and constistently disregarding Article 8. As they are a 'poor man's court' they know few can mount a Judicial Review or appeal to the Lands Tribunal. The LVT is taking taxpayers money and not discharging its duties as set out in the Human Rights Act (I can give full details if asked).
The problem seems to arise from the principle of Forfeiture which arises from The Law of Property Act 1925 (I think it may be section 146). Forfeiture is almost uniquely English it is not known in Europe or in most other countries. Forfeiture is where a freeholder/landlord can take someone's flat (home) from them without paying them a penny in compensation. Most people who purchase their flats obtain a mortgage and pay it off over 25 years, making sacrificest o own their own home. If the have paid £120,000 for their flat and they do not pay their £5 ground rent (or their freeholder denies receiving it) the freeholder can then simply change the locks and take this person's home for themselves, and not have to pay a penny. He can then sell it for £120,000 and not pay the homeowner a penny. This gives an incentive to villans to become freeholders/property managers and target people in their homes with false accounts, threatening forfeiture if they are not paid within 7days. Sometimes the freeholders come across someone like me who queries their accounts but usually people pay up or get out quickly before they cannot leave.
If s146 Law of Property Act 1925 was repealed, then it would bring us in line with most other countries, and it would not make it so easy and lucrative for freeholders to send false accounts.
If the LVT was replaced with a bona fide institution that would save the taxpayer loads of money and help homeowners as at the moment rogue freeholders boast about how bias the LVT is and how it is pointless going there as it will only cost the homeowner money and they wont get a fair hearing, so they may as well pay the false accounts as its cheaper.
Please help – pleae look at CARL's website and that of SELCHA.
Why is this idea important?
Because it affects some people's homes, which they have purchased on a mortgage and paid for over years as it is so imporant for them to have a safe home. Parliament acknowledged the importance of peoples homes when it passed the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 (harassment), Landlord and Tenant Acts (various), LRUDA 1993, CLARA 2002 etc and the most recent Housing Act I think may actually acknowledge emotional and mental health as relevant not just physical health (eg damp). An Englishman's home is his castle, and people need to go home to recharge their batteries eg for another day at work! Article 8 (check Lee v Leeds City Council – House of Lords 2002) applies too. Successive elected Parliaments and members of the independent Judiciary all seem to verify the importance of one's home and quiet peacful enjoyment of it.
The council and police say to use the county court. The Judges act with integrity at Hastings County Court (not universally througout UK I fear though) but their hands are tied by etiquitte when crooked solicitors, funded by Professional Indemnity Insurance, defend rogue landlords – which may explain why Parliament tried to involve the local council and then set up LVT. The county court is not equipped to deal with what is basic criminality it is only civil.
The LVT is taking the Mickey. It is consistently not discharging its duties including under Human Rights Act which states that a Tribunal must comply with Article 6 (ie UK law). I can give full examples (eg s1, s21 LTA; LPA (MP) Act 1989; most-established common law principles law etc). The LVT takes the mickey with impunity because those who approach it cannot appeal to Lands Tribunal nor have a Judicial Review for financial reasons.
Even those who have money or legal aid cannot necessarily access a competent solicitor. Even the good solicitors are businessmen not here to provide a social service.
Article 8 gives a Right. There is a corresponding duty on the State to uphold it. There is no forum to uphold Article 8 for Leaeholders. This is not through lack of trying by successive elected parliaments but because the public sector is unaccountable and the LVT is part of it and takes advantage of this unaccountability to make-work for itself and perpetuate its pensions.
help us –