I have a question in regards to leasehold responsibility. There is damp in my property from the Balcony to inside of the apartment. I think that the management company is responsible for this due to a poorly structured balcony. The management company say it is my responsibility and refuse to answer my emails. I understand other neighbouring flats also have similar problems with dampness. Currently the flat is tenanted for a family with 2 children under 3 years. Is there anything I can do and who is responsible?
We suggest the following:
1. Find out whether there is a warranty for the original construction and check it covers that particular defect/part of the structure and that it is within date.
2. Check your lease to establish whose responsibility it is to maintain which parts of the building.
If 1 and 2 are not in your favour, then you could pursue the below;
3. You will need to prove that other properties suffer the same issue, which a surveyor could assist with. Following this, you may consider discussing with your neighbours and a solicitor to establish whether there is a case for an inherent defect caused by the original construction. It should be noted this could prove expensive, which may outweigh the cost of repairing the defect.
4. Review the survey carried out before you purchased the property to find out whether this was mentioned. If not, return to the firm who provided it.
It is likely that you will need evidence to support all of the above points. This can be collected by yourself, however, we suggest a surveyor’s defect diagnosis report will be necessary. This will provide independent professional advice and will assist you in deciding whether to take matters further.
It is worth noting that you should record and date all relevant correspondence and formalise discussions in written form and stating a reasonable response period, typically 7 to 14 days.’
Christian Howe, Managing Director at Howe Chartered Surveyors