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  #1  
Old 08-09-2019, 08:18 PM
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Property legal letter- am I being screwed?

Ok, it's not often I turn to advice from the BBS, but on occasion, when called upon, you fellow palace fans have really helped me - successfully I may add- thank you! Anyway, my current situation is this - sorry this may be boring for many lol, but bear with me, I will endeavour to keep short as poss! -82 flats in my block in Sutton have been charged 500-1,000 for boiler fault charges we don't believe we should pay. A lady from flat has been in contact with a solicitor, this much we believe to be true, tho she is now charging 1,500 (60 per flat for letter, only 31 flats are in whats app group ) disputing this charge, but the letter looks unprofessiional, and quite frankly, I could have written better - basic errors all over the place. I thought solicitors would be meticulous - should I, and other flats, pay the 60?
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:25 PM
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Did you ask her to do this work on behalf of yourself, or other residents?

Has she any authority to act on behalf of yourself or others in the block?

If not, I wouldn't think she has any claim on anyone else for money.

For the concerns you have re boiler fault charges, I would suggest talking to the CAB in the first instance.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:35 PM
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Did you ask her to do this work on behalf of yourself, or other residents?

Has she any authority to act on behalf of yourself or others in the block?

If not, I wouldn't think she has any claim on anyone else for money.

For the concerns you have re boiler fault charges, I would suggest talking to the CAB in the first instance.

To be fair, she went to a solicitor with our collective backing, at very short notice, from the whatsapp group, but went on her own with her dad - slightly suspiciously, as it came accross to me, she was not too keen for anyone else to go with her- and at short notice she wen- school boy error in hind sight - I wish one of other flats went too.

Thanks for advice regarding CAB may look at that option.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:49 PM
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I'm no lawyer, but 1500.00 for a solicitor's letter is extortionate. It should be a few hundred pounds.

If you've seen the letter then it'll have the solicitor's name and address. You could always ring them and be quite honest and say that the letter seemed so amateurly written that you wanted to check that they did indeed write it.

If they did write it, I'd ask them what their hourly solicitor's rate is as well.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:54 PM
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I'm no lawyer, but 1500.00 for a solicitor's letter is extortionate. It should be a few hundred pounds.

If you've seen the letter then it'll have the solicitor's name and address. You could always ring them and be quite honest and say that the letter seemed so amateurly written that you wanted to check that they did indeed write it.

If they did write it, I'd ask them what their hourly solicitor's rate is as well.
Yes mate, to be honest a few of us(myself very much included) think she's has written it herself and is going to pocket the money - she emphasised recently in a block meeting that she is keen to move out, but needs to save for a while in order to do so.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:54 PM
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Also, why only the WhatsApp group, surely a residents committee should be dealing on behalf of all residents?

I wouldn't have thought the management organisation would only deal with half of you. And if all 82 properties were up in arms, more power to the elbow so to speak.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:58 PM
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Yes mate, to be honest a few of us(myself very much included) think she's has written it herself and is going to pocket the money - she emphasised recently in a block meeting that she is keen to move out, but needs to save for a while in order to do so.
There is no reference at all to the solicitor on the letter which is to be sent to our management agent. There is a covering letter, which seems authentic e.g. the gramma, punctuation etc is perfect on that - as one would expect, however it is very different to the letter which, is frankly, sloppy!
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:04 PM
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Also, why only the WhatsApp group, surely a residents committee should be dealing on behalf of all residents?

I wouldn't have thought the management organisation would only deal with half of you. And if all 82 properties were up in arms, more power to the elbow so to speak.
You are quite right, and ideally we would have all 82 flats on board, however some are rented and it has proven tricky to gain the interest of the tenants - and subsequently their respective landlords, many of whom are located elsewhere and possibly with more pressing issues.
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:13 PM
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Although all the flats, to the best of my knowledge, have expressed their anger at the costs, our task has also not been aided by it being the holiday season - some flats have been uncontactable or simply unable to commit to the cause. Key to this case is, I should point out
, that our warranty only ran out about a month ago - and the boiler issues(which have not effected my flat, but have many others) have been reported and ongoing since day 1 - two years ago.
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:06 PM
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This is clearly bollocks.

A solicitor charges a fee for acting for a client. Here the client is the group of leaseholders of the flats (whether formally constituted or not) in which each leaseholder has an interest. The solicitor has written a letter on behalf of that client telling someone to stick some kind of spurious claim up his arse. That letter is a single piece of work which took x hours to draft chargeable at some hourly rate.

The idea that each freeholder can be treated as a separate client and the same fee demanded from each of them for the same piece of work can be put to the Law Society and they will laugh it out into the street.

Certainly when I was such a leaseholder any solicitor that tried this would have been sacked immedeiately and told where to stick his invoice. Preposterous.

Anyway why do you need a solicitor, at least in the first instance? Just get someone acting as director of the group of freeholders to send a letter to the factors telling them to do one.
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:35 PM
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This is clearly bollocks.

A solicitor charges a fee for acting for a client. Here the client is the group of leaseholders of the flats (whether formally constituted or not) in which each leaseholder has an interest. The solicitor has written a letter on behalf of that client telling someone to stick some kind of spurious claim up his arse. That letter is a single piece of work which took x hours to draft chargeable at some hourly rate.

The idea that each freeholder can be treated as a separate client and the same fee demanded from each of them for the same piece of work can be put to the Law Society and they will laugh it out into the street.

Certainly when I was such a leaseholder any solicitor that tried this would have been sacked immedeiately and told where to stick his invoice. Preposterous.

Anyway why do you need a solicitor, at least in the first instance? Just get someone acting as director of the group of freeholders to send a letter to the factors telling them to do one.
The letter is written, and addressed, as if it were from 1 flat(lady mentioned) - but representing the 31 flats in the group. As far as I am aware, the solicitor, who is from high end law firm in central London, will charge the lady 1,500 +vat and then she will recoup that from the 31flats at a cost of 60 each flat.
With reference to why need a solicitor, perhaps you are correct although a number of us have contacted the management company individually(not as a group) and have had copy and paste answers back and no let up in their demands. As we didn't seem to be getting anywhere, and with the deadline for. payment of these charges closing in(19th September), lady said she knew a family friend solicitor who was an expert in this area and willing to help. Initially she said the cost would be 100 between all flats and then said two days later it would be 1500! The letter, supposedly from this high end lawyer, is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors certainly not what you expect of a 1500 letter and several of us are very suspicious that we are being misled by this lady in our flats
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:46 AM
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Sounds dodgy as ****. Do not hand over any money! Call the solicitors firm they will be more than willing to confirm if they are dealing with the matter and fees etc.

In fact who is the solicitor and what firm are they from? I used to work in a top London law firm so I might be able to put the feelers out so to speak.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:06 PM
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Sounds dodgy as ****. Do not hand over any money! Call the solicitors firm they will be more than willing to confirm if they are dealing with the matter and fees etc.

In fact who is the solicitor and what firm are they from? I used to work in a top London law firm so I might be able to put the feelers out so to speak.
Thanks Latvian. The firm is Lincoln Inns-based and is Payne Hicks Beach. I do believe she has had a meeting with them, but I think she is just getting a very limited service from them and doing the letter herself, which we were led to believe was written by the solicitor, and then charging a lot more to that flats. I will certainly ask to see an invoice.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:10 AM
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I will certainly ask to see an invoice.
That should not be at all controversial to ask to see, and will confirm if it is her or the solicitor that is doing the ripping off
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:04 AM
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If the invoice cannot be immediately produced, is also written in crayon & a complete mess then I still wouldn't worry. It all sounds completely legit.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:32 PM
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Many thanks for replies all. Shall update on progression -and if an invoice of any kind miraculously materialises!
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:31 AM
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Many thanks for replies all. Shall update on progression -and if an invoice of any kind miraculously materialises!
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, lady said she knew a family friend solicitor who was an expert in this area and willing to help.
Got a funny feeling an invoice will appear, the validity of it I would question, but proof would be hard tp prove.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:09 AM
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Got a funny feeling an invoice will appear, the validity of it I would question, but proof would be hard tp prove.
You take a picture of it and email it to the legal firm in question with a note saying, "can you confirm that this was issued by you"? If someone is masquerading and invoicing as them, they are going to be VERY pissed off
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:51 AM
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The Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdriftsThe Ferret is ice and dust, is sky; can see horses wading through snowdrifts
You said that it was 1500 + VAT. Could you ask for the VAT receipt saying that your accountant will need copy.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:44 AM
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Selhurst Celtic Selhurst Celtic is offline
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Selhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is hereSelhurst Celtic Sam the man is here
Why are you tip toeing around this? Go & ask her what the craic is, that the letter is a ball of dung & that you have suspicions about what's going on.
Or have you two had previous, how shall I put it, liaisons, so it's all a bit awkward & embarrassing?
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