What the Court Case Means for You
Updated: Jul 1, 2019
The Northwood Hall Residents’ Association would like to share with you 4 key points that came out of last Thursday’s leaseholders’ meeting which should help us all move forward in a constructive and positive way.
You will have seen a copy of the judgment from the court case, and Philip Whale’s summary of Mrs Recorder McGrath’s findings (also available on the RA website: www.northwoodhall.co.uk/news-updates).
1. Service Charges
Mrs Recorder McGrath was clear in her findings that none of Mr Maunder Taylor’s reserve fund and service charge demands have been made lawfully.
The next service charge quarterly demand could shortly be issued. But until Mr Maunder Taylor is able to produce a lawful demand, leaseholders are advised to not make any further payments to him.
Even if Mr Maunder Taylor was able to produce a lawful demand, it would be possible for leaseholders to exercise a set-off, since the amounts they can now claim from him will far exceed that demand. No payment will therefore be due.
2. Mr Maunder Taylor’s Costs Indemnity
Now that the court has found against Mr Maunder Taylor on all counts, he has been ordered to pay both his own costs and those of the 37 claimants.
Mr Maunder Taylor plans to use the indemnity provided to him in the 2016 First Tier Tribunal management order to recover these costs from the service charge account. The claimants asked the court to lift this indemnity, and also asked Tina Harrison on behalf of Northwood Hall leaseholders to persuade Mr Maunder Taylor that it is unacceptable for him to pursue it, but unfortunately it still stands. Philip Whale has therefore offered to help leaseholders apply to the court to have this indemnity lifted (an S20C application).
Triplark, the current freeholder, has also organised an S20C application with the support of the Northwood Hall Leaseholders’ Group. However, it appears that they have made their application to the wrong court (the FTT) when they should have made it to the County Court. This does not instil confidence in the quality of Triplark’s legal advisers.
Philip Whale, on the other hand, brings with him the proven knowledge and expertise of his legal team, so the safest course of action is to take up Philip’s offer and register your interest in this application with him.
3. Claiming Your Money Back
The success of the court case now means that all leaseholders at Northwood Hall can make a claim against Mr Maunder Taylor for the “mistaken payments” relating to the heating project. These include all the money paid towards the project (other than for the new boilers), and the costs of installing the new pipework and HIUs in everyone’s flats.
It will also be possible to claim back money paid to Mr Maunder Taylor as service charges/reserve funds. If you have arrears, almost all the debt could be cancelled. However, you will need to take action to achieve this.
Philip Whale has offered to organise a consolidated legal action for everyone who has signed up to be part of the Northwood Hall enfranchisement. As he explained at Thursday’s meeting, this is not something that can happen overnight, but the ground has been laid for everyone to benefit from the success of the court case against Mr Maunder Taylor, now that the principal arguments have been established in our favour.
4. Why the Freehold?
As leaseholders we own 85% of the value of Northwood Hall but have zero say in its upkeep and management. Acquiring the freehold will give us the kind of control over our building and our properties that we have never had or will have if we do not act to change the status quo.
The freehold will guarantee us the accountability, transparency, value for money and lawfulness in everything that happens at Northwood Hall that we now so desperately need to move forward.
It is important to be aware that the longer it takes to trigger the enfranchisement process, the more expensive it will become for all of us, as the value of the freehold will rise with every day of delay.
The minimum number required to trigger the process is 97, but this is not a limit. As Philip emphasised last Thursday evening, the offer is open to everyone and the more who join the more we can all share in the real democracy the freehold will bring to Northwood Hall.
If you have any questions about signing up, or about the consequences of the court case, please get in touch with Philip at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 020 8638 0649, and he will answer them as a soon as he can.
The Northwood Hall Residents’ Association continues to work independently of the management and the current freeholder in the interests of everyone living at Northwood Hall.
NWH RA Committee
27 June 2019