I’d just like to come back at Will who commented last year on ‘How well’ Lewisham Homes does at tribunal.
I realise this comment was made some time back, but am concerned it may unintentionally spread fear in a dissenting leaseholder. One shouldn’t accept that. because LH gets a ruling seemingly in its favour hat it is in any way “doing well”. This was a case that had a badly drawn lease.
In fact the case linked to, LON/00AZ/LSC/2019/0075, was mine. Lewisham Homes brought this after I challenged its right to replace perfectly sound windows in a house with two flats; one of which I am the leaseholder and the person below the social tenant.
LH actually made it seem as if I was against paying a “reasonably incurred” service charge: which I’m not. Being ripped off is another matter entirely.
Firstly, Jon Kanareck of Lewisham Homes said they would not be represented by a solicitor. At the trial it imagine my surprise when I saw a barrister who had clearly been briefed by a law firm. The costs which had to be picked up by Lewisham Homes, not I.
However, it was a neat trick. One Lewisham Homes had either pulled before or had been simply misinformed on. But how that could be seems odd. (Kanareck himself seems a nice guy, so I’d like to think it wasn’t an attempt to misdirect me. But in truth I didn’t care because the Rocky soundtrack was ringing in my ears.)
In addition, there were other ‘moves’.
Prior to the case, the barrister tried to hand me some papers he had prepared to assist the court. The case was heard by a single judge rather than additional experts. Avoid this if it happens to you and tell the judge you would like to postpone for a legal opinion on any late filings. It’s another trick.
In my case Judge Hansen was informal and easy to talk to, so it was a relaxing experience as these things go.
LH, or rather the freeholder, was found to have an obligation to “repair” the windows, which it had never done in the past, and which were deemed part of the structure of the building.
Whilst, contradictorily, the exterior brickwork, sills and guttering were demised to me. Confused? I was. But I didn’t appeal as I didn’t actually care.
My lease did not allow for improvement to be charged, LH having recently forwarded £54,098 as my possibly contribution for these. Go figure.
Lewisham Homes now thinks this gives it the right to change perfectly sound windows that it purchased in 2017, without consultation. But the windows, the judge warned them against any assumption that he was making a ruling on such a right to change them. Like all matters with Lewisham Homes, it’s ongoing.
And didn’t need to be if only they were reasonable, which they are not.
So be brave. Little victories run alongside those of this money-making and self-aggrandising ALMO. (Another Leasehold Manipulating Opportunity?)