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  • FIRST POST
    • 320Holmesdale
    • By 320Holmesdale 14th Sep 18, 11:57 AM
    • 4Posts
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    320Holmesdale
    Major works, £50k for damp-proofing one flat...
    • #1
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:57 AM
    Major works, £50k for damp-proofing one flat... 14th Sep 18 at 11:57 AM
    Hi there.

    Iíve been served by my management agent with a section 20c estimate (complete with 3 quotes), so I have a month to respond to proposed major works.
    I am a leaseholder in a block of 8 flats, first built in 1890. One of the flats apparently has rising damp, and damp-proofing is required. It was first reported in 2014.
    The total cost proposed is £50k (inc. VAT), spread over the 8 flats, and my share is £6,500. Only £8k of this cost is damp-proofing. The rest is stripping the flat then re-furbing it afterwards. Then there is an 11.5% cut for the surveyor and a 6% cut for the management company.
    I did know about the proposed works when I bought the flat (in Feb), so itís not a total surprise, just the cost isÖ!

    Iíd obviously like to use the consultation period to get an independent surveyor in, to check that this particular damp-proofing is the right plan and assess what work actually needs doing. Also, I can send the list of works proposed to a builder and ask for an estimate to check the costs of the 3 already quoted. Also, the percentage cut for the surveyors and management companiesÖ I understand a charge, but a cut seems unfair. So can anyone help before I sell a kidney to find £6.5k?!!

    - Are surveying/management company charges on major works regulated/recommended? What is reasonable?

    - How much of the resulting costs of damp-proofing are a shared problem? Total re-plastering, a paint job, new sink etc.?

    - Bearing in mind itís not my flat, do I have any rights in getting an independent damp surveyor? They will need access after all.

    Big thanks in advance for any help.
Page 1
    • bxboards
    • By bxboards 14th Sep 18, 2:00 PM
    • 1,571 Posts
    • 1,238 Thanks
    bxboards
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 18, 2:00 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 18, 2:00 PM
    The quote is mind boggling high! Even the 'only 8k' bit....

    Is the flat below ground? ie in a cellar etc? Even then, the quote is high.

    You will have to check your lease to see what you are responsible for.. I'm a little surprised you are being charged for stripping and refurbing, as that isn't really part of the fabric of the building per se, I'd expect the leaseholder of that flat to have to cover that side of things.
    • Smi1er
    • By Smi1er 14th Sep 18, 2:36 PM
    • 577 Posts
    • 390 Thanks
    Smi1er
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 18, 2:36 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 18, 2:36 PM
    So what damp works are getting done for £8K?

    Some internal stripping of plaster might have to happen for the work to be done. If that happens then decoration has to happen. If a kitchen has to be removed to do the works then you might have to pay for the cost of removal/reinstatement, however the same units will be going back. If this happens then remember fitting has to comply with current regs. If the owner decides on a change of kitchen then they have to pay for the new units but they do effectively get free fitting.

    I had drainage work done on my house years ago (collapsed drain so insurance). They had to remove the bath (ground floor bathroom) to gain access. In doing so they damaged a few tiles so had to retile the entire bathroom. When the bath was out I asked what would happen if I replace the bath? I was told that they were paid to remove the bath and toilet, and as the tiles were now damaged they also had to remove the basic. They would refit whatever suite I had. Effectively I got a new bathroom for the price of a new suite.

    I'd be asking for a full breakdown
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 14th Sep 18, 3:04 PM
    • 6,908 Posts
    • 6,847 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 18, 3:04 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 18, 3:04 PM
    As you probably know, a section 20 consultation has strict rules. It has 3 stages:

    1. A notice of intention
    2. Notification of estimates
    3. Notification of award of contract

    It sounds like you're at stage 2.

    Stage 1 would have specified what work was going to be done, and if you didn't agree, ideally you should have challenged it then.

    Now would be the time to challenge the estimates for the work.

    If might be worth reading some of these:
    https://www.lease-advice.org/faq/what-is-the-section-20-consultation-process-for-major-works/
    https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/section-20-consultation-private-landlords-resident-management-companies-agents/

    You can also book a call for free advice here:
    https://clients.lease-advice.org/appointments.aspx
    • 320Holmesdale
    • By 320Holmesdale 14th Sep 18, 4:20 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    320Holmesdale
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 18, 4:20 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 18, 4:20 PM
    Hey everyone, thanks for your replies. I am at stage 2.

    Yup, hands up, ideally I would have challenged the work when I bought the place! But I was knee-deep in other lease issues at the time and I let it go by (a few mates said things like "it cost me 3k to damp proof mine - shouldn't be too bad" HA! Plus, when I asked for an idea of costs, of course the managing agent had no idea.

    I've just spoken to the lease advisory, who were really helpful, but also realistic and unsurprised! His thoughts were:

    The lease says that I the lessee am to contribute to "the expenses of maintaining, repairing and renewing..... the roofs foundations and main structure of the building"

    So - of COURSE I can see an argument that this is part of fabric of the building. But, also, when you buy a basement/lower ground flat (I occupy the other one in the building), you know there's more of a chance of damp, and act accordingly. Could this damp-proofing be viewed as an improvement?

    Also, there are lots of different sorts of damp-proofing - it's worth asking for the management agent to send me the surveyor's reasons to suggest his this course of action (ie, it HAS to be done or the block of flats will fall down).

    All thoughts gratefully received, you kind people.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 14th Sep 18, 5:27 PM
    • 7,417 Posts
    • 6,182 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 18, 5:27 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 18, 5:27 PM
    Then there is an 11.5% cut for the surveyor and a 6% cut for the management company.
    Surely this is an incentive for them to inflate the price. Why pay either a proportion of the total cost?


    Talk to the other residents about the right to manage.
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 14-09-2018 at 5:30 PM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • 320Holmesdale
    • By 320Holmesdale 14th Sep 18, 9:16 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    320Holmesdale
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 18, 9:16 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 18, 9:16 PM
    Thanks. I hear you, but sadly Iím fairly sure weíre past RTM on this particular issue.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 15th Sep 18, 6:25 AM
    • 2,641 Posts
    • 1,805 Thanks
    Tom99
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:25 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:25 AM
    If it was built in 1890 the building may not have had a damp proof course to start with so its introduction now can be seen as an addition or improvement which maybe cannot be charged to you under the maintain/repair/renew clause. It its not there in the 1st place you can't maintain/repair or renew it.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 15th Sep 18, 8:22 AM
    • 7,417 Posts
    • 6,182 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    • #9
    • 15th Sep 18, 8:22 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Sep 18, 8:22 AM
    Thanks. I hear you, but sadly Iím fairly sure weíre past RTM on this particular issue.
    Originally posted by 320Holmesdale
    The suggestion was for future issues. Other residents may be unhappy about the current works, working together is likely to get better results.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • Hipperty
    • By Hipperty 16th Sep 18, 12:56 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    Hipperty
    I'm new to all things leasehold so have been reading with interest. Would the buildings insurance not cover the damp proofing work?
    • 320Holmesdale
    • By 320Holmesdale 21st Sep 18, 4:11 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    320Holmesdale
    Hi there Hipperty, I've checked with our buildings insurance firm, and it does not.
    • D_M_E
    • By D_M_E 21st Sep 18, 6:33 PM
    • 1,824 Posts
    • 64,960 Thanks
    D_M_E
    As Tom99 indicates in his post - if it was built in 1890 it may well not have originally had a DPC installed when constructed and therefore na DPC would be classed as an improvement for which you may not have to pay.

    You need to carefully read and check your lease and see what it says about it - particularly if the building either does not currently have a DPC or if it's been converted into flats and a DPC was not installed at time of conversion.

    Don't see why you should have to contribute towards refurbishment of the damp premises - would have thought that that would be the responsibilty of the leaseholder of that particular flat.
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 23rd Sep 18, 11:13 AM
    • 3,842 Posts
    • 3,383 Thanks
    Hoploz
    Seems to me it isnt the damp work that is the main costs it's the refurbishment. The owner of the flat should be contributing to this, however I would suggest that if the problem was reported 4 years ago then they could argue it has got worse through negligence ie it wasn't repaired quickly enough and there has been further damage not their fault.

    Ultimately the question to ask yourself is, would you have bought your flat if it had been £6500 more than you paid, and if it's worth the extra now a few months on, then you haven't really lost out.
    Last edited by Hoploz; Yesterday at 11:16 AM.
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