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Do we have to pay this? (Roof related)

(17 Posts)
thisoldhouse1239 Sat 18-Jun-16 13:37:21

Hello, living in a flat in a three floor building with five other flats. All are privately owned, one newish owner is renting out a top floor flat through an agency.
Got a letter from this agency today asking us for our share of emergency work (already carried out) to fix a leak in the roof, and also to have a new section fitted (not done as yet). They have included one estimate, and say they contacted others but they could not visit until July. They say they see no option but to have this work carried out and by this company - we've been given a bill.
Is it wrong of me to find this all a bit hmm ? We've had the odd repair to do before, one of the owners has got estimates and shared them with us all and we've decided what to do. We have no decision here at all, and it's not even being arranged by an owner but by the letting agent of the owner. I assume they want to get it sorted as quickly as possible and it doesn't matter to them how much it costs as they're not paying it! The sum is around £350 per flat which won't seem much to many I know but basically cancels out a trip to visit family I'd planned for the summer. We want to pay what we owe but not above the odds, and only one quote means we don't know what a fair price would be.
Grateful for any advice!

gpignname Sat 18-Jun-16 13:51:00

Is there a management company for all the flats that looks after communal areas and insurance etc. It shouldn't be a case of them writing to each individual flat - they should write to the management company and the management company should decide - sometimes you have to pay a certain amount each year into the management company so they have a fund to cover things like this. Otherwise maybe it is insured. In any case they should not get work done without letting you all know first. If it really was an emergency they should just have basic emergency work done which wouldn't usually cost £2000.

Spickle Sat 18-Jun-16 13:54:04

So there are six flats in the building? In the past, if there have been any decoration or repair works to the communal areas who has organised the work and notified all flat owners of the cost? Normally, there would be a management company/freeholder who does this - do you have a management company that you pay service charges/ground rent to? I certainly wouldn't be liaising with any agency who are not freeholders or managing the whole property. Do you have a copy of the freehold title for the whole building? It will tell you who the owner is (or are all six flat owners listed on the freehold title, although usually Land Registry will only allow 4 owners to be on the title?).

thisoldhouse1239 Sat 18-Jun-16 13:55:09

No there's no company, we look after communal areas ourselves and the council maintain stair lighting, though they're phasing that out.

thisoldhouse1239 Sat 18-Jun-16 13:57:35

Thank you both for the advice. We are in Scotland so I don't think the freehold type stuff applies. In the past the owner of one of the flats arranged quotes and showed them to us, sadly that person has moved on. Haven't had the chance to hear what anyone else in the building thinks, as letters just arrived (hoping one of them has some building experience!)

gpignname Sat 18-Jun-16 13:57:45

If there isn't a management company, there must still be something written down legally setting out who is responsible for maintaining (and paying for) the roof. Someone must own the freehold. Someone must insure the building.

gpignname Sat 18-Jun-16 13:59:34

Oh didn't realise it was Scotland - don't know how it works there!!

thisoldhouse1239 Sat 18-Jun-16 14:00:31

We have building insurance ourselves, is that the same thing? I do believe we are all equally responsible for repairing the roof, that is always they way it has been here (city with lots of flats). They just seem very cavalier about it needing done now and by whom.

OhTheRoses Sat 18-Jun-16 14:00:36

What does your lease say? Do you own the flat? What does this have to do with the council in a privately managed block

thisoldhouse1239 Sat 18-Jun-16 14:02:26

We own the flat (well, with the help of a mortgage!) I don't know why the council is involved, but they have maintained stair lighting in every tenement building I've lived in here, it just must be how it's done up here.

HirplesWithHaggis Sat 18-Jun-16 14:30:28

Is it possible that the council is your Factor? Check the register to see if your building has one. If you do, these matters should be referred to them.

Blistory Sat 18-Jun-16 14:38:05

I don't think it's unreasonable for emergency repairs to be carried out, particularly if they're in the top floor flat and directly affected by a leak. We're self factoring and sometimes have to take things on trust, particularly when it comes to emergency repairs. I'd pay the share of the emergency repairs if I were you but ask for another quote for the remaining repairs. And one of the flats in our building is rented and the letting agents acts for the owner in this kind of thing so not particularly unusual.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 18-Jun-16 14:47:02

I don't know about Scottish law but we have a flat with a managing agent and I would say they are usually very keen to spend my money unnecessarily.

Just this year I have had three instances where I have been told they are sending someone to do work that is either unnecessary (planing the door when it's the lock that's needs to be key operated or it sticks) or the responsibility of someone else (eg the water company) or could be done much more cheaply (I'm not paying £65 for someone to come and stick a £5 strip of draft excluder on, the tenant can put some on if they want it).

So I would expect some more quotes and to inspect to see how essential the work is.

concertplayer Sat 18-Jun-16 16:15:49

I would expect 3 quotes unless a dire emergency A leak is important but not urgent. From a tenant's point of view however they will put up with less than the owners.
The roof is a major thing and it does not pay in the long run to skimp on it.
It really does need to be inspected at least every 5 years. Flat roofs in particular can be a pain and you can be refused insurance if froofs are not up to scratch or rather the insurance may cost you more.
Now is the time to arrange an annual meeting with the other flat owners
to discuss your insurance/maintenance concerns. A written copy of the
meeting should be sent to the Letting Agents.
You need to be putting £500- £1000 (each flat) away per a as this is an
old building.

thisoldhouse1239 Sat 18-Jun-16 16:38:57

Thank you, I think I've got a bit of a plan to take things forward now. Happy to pay for the emergency repair (no idea how much of a leak it was though) but given the date already I don't think waiting till June to get more quotes for a major repair (it is a flat roof btw) is unreasonable. I really didn't like this "this is what's happening" tone of the letter!
Thanks for all the replies.

LizzieMacQueen Sat 18-Jun-16 16:50:14

When we lived in a tenement flat in Edinburgh there was a 'common repairs' fund that each flat holder had to contribute to. I don't know if it was contractual but it belonged to the flat so when we sold the new owners inherited our share.

thisoldhouse1239 Sun 19-Jun-16 11:47:59

That sounds like good forward planning!

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