I have to pay an estate management fee where I live, and have always paid it by standing order. The annual charge increased this year and I forgot to increase my standing order.
As a result I now have a small arrears situation and the company have passed this into the hands of a solicitor, without warning, which has caused an additional fee of £115. The arrears are £87. I can afford the arrears but not the charges.
The letter from the solicitors arrived today and is factually incorrect as it states as a leaseholder I am in in breach of my legal obligation to pay my service charge and administration fees the freeholder.
I am acutally not a leaseholder, but a freeholder, and what I am in arrears for Estate Management fees, which is something totally different.
I have offered to pay the amount owing to the Estate Management Company, but they say I cant now that its gone to the solicitors. The letter from the solicitors says pay the Estate Management Company.
I would like to know if the letter, being incorrect is enforceable?
I don't think the wording comes into it. If you owe the money, you owe the money & the solicitors will have to be paid. I'm surprised you got no warning though before the solicitors got involved, how long have you owed the money for?
Thank-you for your replies, quick update on the matter - we have settled the outstanding amout of £88, but it is the legal letter charge of £115 for a single letter without warning (and an incorrect one at that) which I have an issue with. I really cant afford this amount and feel its really unfair because it represents more than 100% of what the outstanding amount was.
The crazy thing is that all homeowners on the estate are part owners of the estate management company which is then managed by a board of directors (3 other residents) and a private estate management company.
I wrote to the directors to see if there was any chance of the legal fee's being waivered, but they say not.
I just wondered if the fact that the letter contains factually incorrect detail - if its enforceable or not and should I challenge it, or should I just accept the matter. They have offered to split the £115 over 3 months, but even this is very painful at the moment with Christmas just around the corner and car mot and service just done also insurance due etc.
Is there anything I can do to avoid paying this £115?
Thanks lesley, I was awaiting response to my letter to the directors all week long.
£115 for a legal letter seems like extortion to me, even if there was a sum outstanding. All I needed was a simple reminder in the post, but instead they had tagged a brief reminder onto a friendly email about something else in June.
We live in a nice area but its not mega posh or anything - but would it suprise you to learn that part of our estate management fees pay a gardener plus 1 helper, £6100 annually for 3-4 hours work twice a month!!! And of course it is the directors and the private management company who procure his services.
I know I should go to the next meeting and raise the roof, but I feel like posting a newslatter to each resident highlighting a few points!!
Oh and another reason the arrears occured were due to a nearly doubling of the estate management fees since last year. (Gardening fees gone up a lot)