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Holocaust survivor faces losing home after disputing leaseholder charges

Fundraising petition launched after legal costs spiralled out of control

04 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Agnes Kory meets Ban Ki-moon in New York

A HOLOCAUST survivor who became the Royal Ballet’s principal cellist fears a legal battle will make her homeless.

Agnes Kory – who has lived in the three-bedroom flat at Frognal Court, Finchley Road, since 1974 – is facing crippling legal costs of around £40,000 which she says will “wipe” her out.

The 74-year-old repre- sented herself when she challenged unspecified leaseholder charges of around £2,300 four years ago.

Following a lengthy legal process, the courts have found in favour of the landlord. Under the terms of most leases, the freeholder is entitled to recover costs when reclaiming a debt for service charge payments.

Ms Kory said: “My landlords and their legal team are teaching me and any other owner- occupier leaseholder wish- ing to question charges – a cruel lesson: pay whatever we demand or lose your home.

“I would like to fight back to save my home and to turn the trend of exploitation of leaseholders.”

Ms Kory, who has represented herself at a tribunal and in the small claims court, said that each time the judges “took no notice” of her arguments.

She is preparing her own grounds for appeal, with supporters helping her set up an online page which raised more than £3,000 this week.

At her home this week she spoke about the “horrors” of her experience and ever-increasing costs.

Ms Kory has won a string of classical music prizes. On Holocaust Memorial Day she spoke in New York at a United Nations reception with secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

Despite the prestigious awards, she described herself as living the relatively modest life of an “old hag”.

She is founder and director of the Béla Bartók Centre for Musicianship and is a Camden Momentum activist who campaigned for Labour during the council elections.

She has finished re- search for a Manchester University project she has been working on for 10 years. “Soon it could be that I have a PhD and be homeless,” she said.

The landlord, Frognal Ground Rent, based in Grafton Road, Fitzrovia, owns the red-brick blocks on Finchley Road opposite the 02 Centre.

In 2009, in a separate case, a tribunal appointed a manager to oversee the blocks after major repairs were found to have not been carried out.

Martin Kingsley, the appointed manager, said: “We have gone to great lengths to try and settle this matter. I am sympathetic to Ms Kory’s predicament and there is always room to discuss matters.”

To see Ms Kory’s petition, visit www.gofundme.com/agness -fight-for-justice

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