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Advice
It is intended for this section of the website to develop into a resource to help leaseholders encountering difficulties with unscrupulous landlords and managing agents.

As a campaigning organisation, CARL is not geared to giving detailed advice on an individual basis, so cannot respond to such requests.

CARL is interested though, in hearing about problems in a general sense, such as about particularly bad freeholders or agents (and good ones too), or devious ways that rotten landlords use to extract cash. This helps CARL build up a wider picture of what is happening and to publicise it for everyone's benefit. CARL can also put people in contact with others in a similar situation or suffering under the same freeholder.

Therefore, please register with us and join our mailing list

 

Useful contacts, organisations, addresses and a bibliography
Committee member Alan Ingram has compiled a Fact Sheet listing of people, organisations, and journalists with an interest in leasehold issues.

Chris Graham, CARL committee and key player in the London Leaseholders Network, has compiled an extensive bibliography on leasehold and housing, including government papers. www.chrisgraham.info/


Challenging Service Charges
Shabnam Ali-Khan
, Senior Advisor at the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) offers an overview of how to deal with service charge disputes.

This was a presentation given at CARL's tenth Conference in November 2008

 



 Basic steps to take if you are being exploited by your landlord or
managing agent
  Some common abuses suffered by leaseholders
Unscrupulous landlords and their agents can:
  
Talk to other leaseholders in your block. Knock on doors and explain the issues. It is good idea to form a tenants' association, which offers extra legal powers and provides a focal point to rally tenants.

If you do not know who owns any of the flats, you can find out through the Land Registry. You can find out more about the freehold owning company by contacting Companies House, and if necessary invoking the Freehom of Information Act. Freeholders are obliged by law to reveal all interests in the building if you formally express an interest in excercising your legal right to buy the freehold.

Dig out your lease and study it to understand the landlord's - and yours - obligations and rights. Detailed knowledge of the lease is empowering, as many freeholders exploit leaseholders' ignorance of its provisions.

Free specialist advice is available from the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), a government sponsored body.

Local leaseholder groups may be able to help.

The Federation of Private Residents Associations offers free legal and other advice to its member assocations.

It is worth contacting your local council, which may take an interest.

Asbestoswatch
can offer advice on asbestos removal
 >Take money from the service charge fund
  >Bully and intimidate lessees who protest
  >Charge for services not carried out by the freeholder
  >Carry out unnecessary work on the building to profit from extra management fees
  >Rig the tendering process for repair work
  >Fail to properly maintain a building leading to highly expensive repairs in the future
  >Fail to disclose missing money in the annual service charge statement
>Make leaseholders pay the landlord's own legal costs fighting leaseholders
>Create phoney management companies to cream off high 'management fees'
>Overcharge for arranging insurance
>Charge extra management fees for major works against the terms of the management contract
>Carry out unnecessary and/or over-priced asbestos removal from your block of flats
>Write false witness letters from non-existing tenants
>Operate as offshore companies, enabling them to evade UK company law and other legislation.