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Why I am facing a £40,000 plus bill in the fight for my home

11 October, 2018

• IN her letter Marie Garside makes some valid points, some errors and some crucial omissions, (There’s another side to your ‘Holocaust survivor’s’ story, October 4).

My response here is based on written evidence, available for all to see. Ms Garside states she supports legal action against me because of my consistent and habitual non-payment.

With due respect Ms Garside’s stance may have nothing to do with alleged non-payment. I refused only one payment, £2,468.82 billed in June 2014, for which I have been seeking clarification for the past four years.

I also questioned some other bills as well as management’s attitude to professional/legal fees but I was taken to court before an agreement could have been reached about those items.

Since the court action against me started management refused to accept payment even outside the disputed amount. In July 2017 their solicitor wrote that accepting payment from me would prejudice their client’s case against me.

Recently I asked management for service charge invoices showing demands from June 2017 but had no response. As seen, management is reluctant to take payment from me and labels me as a non-payer.

Ms Garside correctly states that “Others have had difficulties paying but they have taken appropriate action, by either renting out a room,… selling their flat… and moving away from NW3 to a less expensive area…”.

According to my best knowledge nobody is renting out one room. However, out of the 54 flats all were owner occupied when I purchased my flat 44 years ago; by now only a handful of flats are owner occupied. The rest of the flats are multiple let for high market rents.

Evidently Ms Garside sees no problem with the changing profile of Frognal Estate. I have no problem with absentee leaseholder landlords letting their flats; they provide accommodation for London renters.

However, I do not see why I too should be forced to move because of crippling management and administrative charges, in particular because of ever-increasing professional and legal fees.

Ms Garside omits to mention a crucial part of my argument. This concerns the dilapidated state of my flat owing to neglect of subsequent managements.

This is not the place to retry the case but I mention one example. Influenced by management’s highly-skilled barrister, the First-tier Tribunal ruled that water damages to my flat over the years were caused by my window which is my responsibility.

However, it is of note, that Google map images of 2008 and 2012 clearly show a huge crack in the wall, exactly outside my window. It is there for all the world to see.

Ms Garside ignores the main point of your September 27 report (Holocaust survivor faces losing home after disputing leaseholder charges ); this point is highlighted above the main headline and states: Musician faces £40k bill for legal dispute with landlord over leaseholder charges.

The argument was about a bill of £2,468.82. This sum snowballed by inadequate communication to £5,537.74.

Management did not follow the County Court ruling which suggested mediation in this case; management did not accept the offer of mediation by the First-tier Tribunal; management did not attend FtT’s case management hearing which was supposed to be exploring a settlement to avoid a full hearing.

I am now faced with £40,000 + legal costs against me, all accumulated by management (as I was defending myself).

Ms Garside states that I was “treated fairly and with great consideration”. I don’t think so…



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