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... all motivated by wanting to make leaseholders pay for the cost of a building a penthouse flat, addition of three other flats, related works, and other enhancements

Major Works at Jefferson House, 11 Basil St, London SW3 1AX

 

(NB: Main events are covered in my 3 June 2008 (74 pg) Witness Statement; (4 pg) Main Points)

Key events about the works including the related service demands are detailed in:

•  In my My Witness Statement (at 19 October 2003)

•  The home page to the site

•  In varying detail in each of my complaints, and most comprehensively in my complaint (1MB) against Martin Russell Jones.

The following covers the sequence of events - including extracts from documents (which can all be accessed by clicking on the date)

31 January 2001 - Letter from Resident H to leaseholders, following the 25 January 2001 sent by Mr Andrew Ladsky to leaseholders, in which she wrote: "residents cannot be charged for building an extra floor"

7 June 2001 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to leaseholders, which makes fascinating reading given subsequent events (points of note are in bold typeface): "Pursuant to the terms of the head lease and underleases held on the property, there is an obligation to carry out works to the property at the relevant time. These works are now overdue and it is planned to carry out a programme of refurbishment in accordance with the terms of the leases on the building in the near future. It is planned to commence the external refurbishment in the Autumn . "

" At present, there is approximately £125,000.00 (US$220,500) in the Reserve Fund, but in view of the scope of works required to be carried out it is anticipated that the sum will be inadequate to meet the costs.   This means that once the Specifications have been prepared and estimates obtained, a Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 Notice will be served on you giving details of the additional payment required from you. "

13 November 2001 - Renewal of the 18 September 1998 planning application to build an extra floor for a penthouse flat

21 December 2001 - Ms Hathaway's letter to leaseholders informing that Brian Gale & Associates has been selected to undertake the condition survey of Jefferson House. (Of course, sent just before Christmas; a typical tactic used by landlords to minimise opposition from lessees) (See Notices by landlord).

The contractors sent their proposals to Jefferson House - where Mr Ladsky resides - rather than to Martin Russell Jones. (During the LVT hearing, Mr Brian Gale admitted having previously done work for Mr Ladsky)

26 January and 2 February 2002 - My correspondence to Ms Hathaway highlighting that, while the appointment stated that it was for "the preparation of a schedule of works for the redecoration of the exterior of the block", the focus of the tender letters (lift, boiler and roof) lead to the conclusion that the works are in fact connected with the planning application (PPO12523) made by KSR Architects on behalf of Steel Services on 13 November 2001 for the " erection of a new residential penthouse apartment at main roof level ".

Consequently, any costs associated with building of the penthouse flat are not the responsibility of leaseholders.

It became immediately evident that I had exposed an intended 'scam' as, within days of sending this correspondence to Ms Hathaway, I started to suffer on-going harassment and intimidation, as well as assault from Mr Andrew David Ladsky .

(I cannot prove these. However, I believe it to be 'fair comment' (in operation until 2013) to say that there is enough of a case against Mr Ladsky to add credibility to my 'alleged' accusations - See sections Police , Head Residents Association , Notices by landlord , Nucleus , Elderly Resident , Other Residents and My Diary e.g. 2005 and 2006)

End February 2002 - Mr Brian Gale completed his condition survey (1.2MB). The works / nature of the works detailed in Mr Brian Gale's specification are so comprehensive that they amount to a total overhaul of the block. They include: new roof; new lift; new boiler plant; new carpet throughout; new doors; new entrance;   new lighting; new area for the porter;   total repainting internal and external;   installation of mechanical ventilation; replacement of some windows;   re-pointing, etc. (Some of the works required stem from lack of proper maintenance and upkeep of the block)

26 March 2002 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to leaseholders:   "The surveyors have indicated that the cost of works is likely to be in excess of £1 million (US$1.8m) + VAT and fees. We would stress that this is a very rough indicative estimate and should in no way be relied upon as an exact figure. The tendering contractors may produce a price which is significantly more or less than the price indicated above depending on numerous factors which contractors take into account when tendering"

Bearing in mind that the works that ought to be taking place were repairs and maintenance works, these comments added to my alarm bells. Either Mr Gale was exceptionally inexperienced, or Ms Hathaway was preparing the ground in order to refer back to this letter at a later stage, along the lines of: "But we did warn you in March 2002.".

There was also another factor that added to my suspicions:   in the same letter, Ms Hathaway stated that ".pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant notice forwarded to you in December of last year .would inform you that there were no comments from any tenants in relation thereto within the prescribed time limit" .

This certainly was not the case. Indeed, in a letter to me of the same date i.e. 26 March 2002 , Ms Hathaway wrote: ".you were incidentally the only objector out of 35 lessees to the appointments" .

Given subsequent events, the following comment in Ms Hathaway's letter to me of 26 March 2002 must also be noted:   "Your suggestion that the appointment of professional advisors is in any way connected with any planning application is incorrect" (See the Photo gallery section)

15 July 2002 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to lessees stating a total sum of £736,206 (US$1.3 million) for the "major works" . (In his tender document of 20 December 2001 Mr Gale stated "We would undertake the full range of post contract administration services from supervision.our fee would be 10% of the contract sum...happy to undertake role of planning surpervisor.our fee would be 1% of contract sum." )

Ms Hathaway states, " Subject to any observations which we may receive, it is the intention of Steel Services to instruct Killby and Gayford to carry out the work" .

Ms Hathaway also states that estimates are attached.   In fact, as can be seen from what she sent, only the total amount is given for Killby & Gayford - and very little else for the others.

Hence, contrary to Ms Hathaway's claim, this letter cannot be considered a Section 20 Notice, as a duly priced specification had not been made available to leaseholders. Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 - Section 20 - (4) (b) - "A notice accompanied by a copy of the estimates shall be given to each of those tenants or shall be displayed in one or more places where it is likely to come to the notice of all those tenants"

Ms Hathaway also states that the sum quoted "may be exceeded due either to subsequent changes in the specifications."

This amounted to the second warning since 26 March 2002 that the costs "may be exceeded" .

This, combined with the fact that the only costings we had been provided with were contained in Ms Hathaway's letter of 15 July 2002, reinforced my view that the ultimate intention was to charge leaseholders for works we should not be paying for . I was right!

17 July 2002 - With her correspondence of 15 July 2002, Ms Hathaway had enclosed an invoice for "Major works contribution: £14,400 " (US$25,400) (My 1.956% share of the £736,000 (US$1.3 million) stated in her 15 July 2002 letter) .  

7 August 2002 - Barely three weeks after sending the demand (which many leaseholders had probably not received by then because they live overseas), Ms Hathaway made an application, on behalf of Steel Services, to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for "determination of the reasonableness of the global sum demanded for the works" .  

Point 2 of the 17 June 2003 LVT determination states: "The application concerns major works set out in a specification prepared by Brian Gale Associates and priced by Killby & Gayford" .

11 August 2002 - My letter to Ms Hathaway requesting "A detailed explanation of how the amount of £14,400.19 you demand from has been calculated". "A copy - without charge - of the Schedule of Building Works as duly priced by the firm of Killby & Gayford - as the copy left with the porter had not been duly priced". "An explanation as to why works are being carried out to the roof given that a planning application to build an extra floor for a penthouse flat was granted on 6 February 2002" . I also state that, if changes are made to the specifications, I expect a new Section 20 Notice to be issued.

20 August 2002 - Ms Hathaway wrote to leaseholders "...we have not received any significant comments from tenants in relation thereto within the prescribed time limit consequently Steel Services are instructing Killby & Gayford;   request payment of the full amount by 16 September " .

This was definitely not the case, as I knew that other leaseholders had, like me, asked for more information e.g. Leaseholder G 's letter of 3 August 2002 to Ms Hathaway stating: "Before I can agree to the demand that you have made I need. (1) a detailed breakdown of the figure of £564,467 (US$995,000) against the specification"  

30 August 2002 - Ms Hathaway's reply to my 11 August letter:   " We are informed that there is no intention to build the penthouse at the current time. obviously any major changes would be advised to lessees" . Given her conduct and that of her client by then, her 'assurance' did not put my mind at rest. I was right: when the works started, so did the construction of the penthouse flat (see Photo gallery)

3 September 2002 - Letter from Leaseholder K's solicitors to Ms Hathaway: "Please provide a breakdown of the apportionment of the total amount claimed."

16 September 2002 - My letter to Ms Hathaway pointing out that: "other than a lump I have not been provided with any cost information justifying the £14,400.19 demand" (US$25,400) and in which I also ask "Why is the contingency fund not used as contribution towards the proposed building works?"

20 September 2002 - In her reply, Ms Hathaway totally ignores my letter of 16 September as she states: " As other lessees have paid their contribution , and it is intended to start work during October, we have to require payment by return. if payment is not made now our client, Steel Services. will instruct solicitors to commence legal proceedings" .  

In addition to the threat of proceedings, her statement was yet again: a lie as, two months later, she filed a claim in West London County Court against 11 leaseholders representing 14 flats. As can be seen below, she sent the same letter to other leaseholders

24 September 2002 - Letter from Leaseholder D to Ms Hathaway: ".your letter of 20 September in which you threaten legal proceedings in the event of not receiving payment from us. as of this date. have (not) received the complete data you undertook to provide at our meeting in your offices on 30 July 2002. This situation has prevailed despite two further letters of remind dated 27 August and 9 September"

7 October 2002 - Letter from Mr Lanny Silverstone , CKFT, to me, received on 10 October, threatening legal proceedings, including forfeiture of my lease and of contacting my mortgage lender unless Martin Russell Jones has received full payment from me of the sum demanded by 10:00 a.m. on 14 October 2002 . (A similar letter was sent to some of the other leaseholders)

8 October 2002 - Letter from the LVT informing of Steel Services application and stating that "supporting documentation is enclosed" . This is not the case for the majority of the list of enclosures ticked on the form. Among those not sent by the LVT are: (1) "A statement showing how the service charge is made up. (2) "The evidence, including any reports or other documents which you want the tribunal to consider in support of your case"

8 October 2002 - 'Log of telephone conversation' To: Joan Hathaway, From: "David Stewart (LVT):   "Ms Hathaway confirmed that the Leaseholders have already been served with copies of the estimate and specification."

10 October 2002 - Letter from the LVT to inform that a pre-trial hearing will take place on 29 October 2002. Most 'interestingly', the LVT waited two months to inform leaseholders that Steel Services had made an application. Why? Because, in spite of leavng two months to bully and intimidate the leaseholders into paying the demand, the majority were still challenging it.

17 October 2002 - My reply to CKFT's 7 October letter stating that I require additional information before I can agree to the demand. I point to the terms of my lease and raise the issue of the contingency fund. I also ask whether CKFT is aware that Steel Services has made an application to the LVT.

19 October 2002 - Letter from Leaseholder M to the LVT: "I was shocked. This amount far exceeds the total costs for work in the previous 17 years. I had several conversations with MRJ requesting an executive summary of the planned work such as "description of work item' 'cost' 'priority. I never received such summary. I do not wish to be involved in a lawsuit. Therefore I have made a funds transfer'" (See section 'Business model of the unscrupulous landlord in 21st century England')

20 October 2002 - Email from Leaseholder C to the LVT: "The assessment is excessive to exorbitant. I paid a proportion, approximately £17,000 (US$30,000) , not of my own free will, but because I felt intimidated and threatened. Steel Services and MRJ will take legal action if I do not comply." (Another example in support of my Business model in operation in the sector)

21 October 2002 - Letter from Mr Silverstone, CKFT ignoring my reasons for not agreeing to payment , stating: "We are sure that Martin Russell Jones will provide you with copies of such as you are entitled to receive pursuant to Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act" and reiterates the threat of issuing proceedings against me.

Mr Silverstone also wrote: "We do not agree with your interpretation of the lease" . And, in reply to my 17 October 2002 question: "We are aware that Steel Services has applied to the LVT."

Contrast how Mr Lanny Silverstone threats me in his 7 October 2002 and 21 October 2002 letters v. his 21 October 2002 letter to the solicitors acting for another leaseholder: "We note that you have made no proposal on behalf of your client to pay all or part of the interim service charge. We should be grateful if you could clarify whether your client does in fact have any objection to the cost of the major works..."

22 October 2002 - My submission to the LVT which includes pointing out that the evidence suggests that Steel Services does not exist and cannot therefore pursue an action in the LVT (see BVI Registration and Owners identity sections); asking for assistance in obtaining a copy of the priced specification

25 October 2002 - Letter from Leaseholder D to Ms Hathaway: ".I still wish to receive as a matter of urgency a copy of the first part of the specification. you are not correct, I have not received a copy of part 2. require as a matter of urgency."

26 October 2002 - A new report is available at the porter's desk in Jefferson House. Like the previous one, bar costings which, in total amount to c. £30,000 (US$53,000), it is unpriced

29 October 2002 - I (with other leaseholders) attend the pre-trial LVT hearing. During the hearing, Mr J.C. Sharma JP FRICS, Chair, tells us, in effect, to NOT pay the service charge until the Tribunal has reached a decision - and it has therefore been implemented.

We (the leaseholders) are each handed a leaflet in support of this

". a recent Court of Appeal case ruling (Daejan Properties Limited v London Leasehold Valuation Tribunal) determined that LVTs only have the jurisdiction to decide the reasonableness of disputed service charges that are still unpaid except under certain circumstances".   ( NB: bold type face as per the leaflet). (See LVT section for more detail).

(As can be seen from the directions issued by the tribunal, Mr Andrew David Ladsky, Ms Joan Doreen Hathaway, MRICS, and Mr Barrie Martin, FRICS, of Martin Russell Jones (MRJ), managing agents for the block, attended the 29 October 2002 pre-trial LVT hearing)

7 November 2002 - Invitation from Martin Russell Jones (I received on the 11th) to "All Lessees" to attend a meeting on 14 November 2002 to, as per "..the Directions Hearing at the LVT. to try to resolve any queries that Lessees may have in respect of the major works.."

12 November 2002 - I reply that " Given that the LVT has given the Lessees until 26 November to formally communicate to the Tribunal "each item of the proposed work that is in dispute, stating fully the reasons for each disputed item" as well as our "information requirements, I consequently view this meeting as premature - and will not therefore attend. Once everybody has had the chance to respond - as per the above - I will then be happy to meet to discuss i.e. after 26 November. This is in line with Point 2 of the directions sent by the Tribunal. I trust that a meeting between 27 November and 15/16 December can be set with more than just a three-day notice"

25 November 2002 - My letter to LVT: "it is impossible for me to form a view as to the reasonableness of the costs as, other than a lump sum, I have not been provided with any information on the composition of the costs ". For the second time now I ask the Tribunal for its assistance in helping me get a copy of the priced specification

29 November 2002 - Filing of one claim ( WL 023 537 ) against 11 leaseholders including myself (and representing 14 flats) in West London County Court by Ms Joan Hathaway on behalf of Steel Services and giving Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor as "the Claimant's solicitors" .  

The Particulars of Claim state, among others that:

"[I] have failed to pay the service charges. that they are now due and owing from [me] to the Claimant." and include a 'Statement of Truth' signed by Ms Hathaway which states:

"The Claimant believes that the facts stated in this Claim Form are true" .

(Subsequent note: re. Ms Hathaway signing the statement of truth: it amounts to a VERY SERIOUS BREACH of the Civil Procedure Rules - see West London County Court # 2.2)

Filing the claim in court was duplication and abuse of process since Steel Services had simultaneously referred all these matters to the LVT and, of course: leaseholders had very specifically been told by the LVT to not pay the service charge demanded, otherwise the tribunal would not be able to assist. ( See West London County Court section)

Very clearly, Steel Services counted on being able to steamroll its application to the LVT without any opposition and thereby get the official seal of approval. (See below Mr Ladsky's comment on 13 March 2003).

1 December 2002 - Ms Hathaway's fax to the LVT stating: "I understand that you have already received our experts report direct"

9 December 2002 - My letter to the Head of the LVTs informing her that Steel Services has filed a claim in West London County Court

10 December 2002 - I write to West London County Court :   ".I wish to bring to your attention the fact the claimant has brought exactly the same action under the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal." and add that "I therefore assume that I do not need to take further action"

11 December 2002 - Reply form the LVT that "it is unable to give independent advice. [I] may wish to consider taking legal advice" (Translation: 'Get lost!')

13 December 2002 - "Proof of evidence of landlord's expert witness (surveyor) Brian Gale" report (delivered to my flat post 18 December 2002, and hence, after the deadline set by the LVT ). As can be seen from the envelop at the back of the report, the stamp has not been franked.

16 December 2002 - 'Mr Ladsky style' letter sent under Ms Hathaway's name. This letter was posted 2nd class on 17 December. It therefore arrived after 18 December - hence, in breach of the deadline set by the LVT). This letter is in reply to my 25 November 2002 letter to the LVT. It does not meet any of my information requirements and, in effect, calls me a liar.

Comparison of this letter with those sent by Mr Ladsky - under his name / that of 'Steel Services' - to myself and other leaseholders (e.g. 25 January 2001 and   2 January 2002 ) suggests that he, rather than Ms Hathaway wrote this letter. (Part of this letter was also incorporated in Mr Silverstone, CKFT, letter of 25 June 2003 ).  

'Ms Hathaway' states:

"You have indicated that it is impossible for you to answer the question of whether or not you dispute any item. We have, on a number of occasions, provided you with the information that you have required. we cannot, therefore, understand why you should be asserting that you cannot ascertain what the works consist of. A report.has been available to you for many months..we have become somewhat frustrated and are at a loss to understand what comments you are actually making in relation to the proposed works.

Aside from value judgments which are wholly incorrect, we cannot ascertain what you are complaining of if, in fact, you are complaining at all. There is no intent to charge residents twice, nor have any documents been tampered with.  

The price obtained from Killby & Gayford, we believe to be extremely competitive and advantageous to the tenants in the block, the vast majority of whom have paid and have made no comment whatsoever in relation to the conduct of the tendering process or the preparation of documents.

...we and our clients cannot help but draw the inevitable conclusion that the correspondence in which you are consistently latterly engaging is for the purposes of avoiding the perfectly reasonable demand for payment of the sum due to refurbish the building ".

17 December 2002 - I send another letter to West London County Court stating:

" Action to be stayed" ' and in which I state:   "The purpose of my attached letter of 10 December 2002 was to report that the same action is being pursued by the same party in two jurisdictions: (1) yours; (2) the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (case LVT/SC/007/120/02). Consequently, I would like to suggest that this action through your County Court be stayed ."

I nonetheless respond to the claim form by sending my 17 December 2002 defence to the claim in which I state, among others:

"I deny the claim because no justification has been provided for the sum demanded. Claimant already pursuing claim through the London LVT (LVT/SC/007/120/02) and process already fairly advanced. The demand does not comply with the terms of my lease. Part of my lease is different from that provided to the County Court"

18 December 2002 - I inform the LVT that I have not received anything from Martin Russell Jones and cannot therefore meet the 7 January 2003 deadline set by the LVT

12 January 2003 - My letter to the LVT requesting that the 5 February 2003 hearing be postponed as Martin Russell Jones has not provided me with a copy of the detailed estimates. Hence, I have been unable to instruct an expert witness to determine the reasonableness of the cost of specific remedies and thus determine specific items of dispute for the trial.  

I also request that the LVT compels Martin Russell Jones to provide me with the information. (Letter copied to Ms Hathaway)

12 January 2003 - My letter to Ms Hathaway stating that, contrary to her claim I have not been provided with the necessary information to allow me to get my own expert to review and hence highlight items of dispute (letter copied to LVT)

20 January 2003 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to the LVT stating that:

(1) her clients object to having the hearing postponed;  

(2) I missed the 7 January deadline to which I had agreed at the 29 October pre-trial hearing;

(3) the documents I "requested have been available in the porter's room since the original notice was served and she has in fact inspected them"  

(4) I declined to attend the meeting arranged for the lessees in November;

(5) at the meeting lessees who wanted a copy of the detailed breakdown of the estimate bought one;

(6) "Our clients feel that Miss Dit-Rawé has had ample time to instruct experts and we would obviously have assisted them in order to bring this matter to a close" ;

(7) "The work is becoming more urgent...problems with the roof, lift and boiler."

22 January 2003 - Letter from the LVT to me saying that it refuses to postpone the 5 February 2003 hearing

5 February 2003 - LVT hearing focused on my application for adjournment. This was granted

"in the interest of justice" ( point 16, 17 June 2003 )

Under point 14 of its 17 June 2003 report, the LVT captured:

"Ms Hathaway maintained that Ms Dit-Rawé had seen the specification. but was unsure as to whether this had been a priced version" .

(The same damning evidence is found in Mr Brian Gale's 24 February 2003 report, under point 2.04:   ".the un-priced or priced Specification.has been. freely available for all lessees to view" ).

"In the interest of justice" (!!!)

Why had there not been justice before?

Given what I (and other leaseholders) had communicated to the LVT (see Leasehold Valuation Tribunal),

Why was it necessary for me to employ (at a very high cost) a barrister (plus a solicitor) to say what I had already said to the Tribunal on several occasions?

The first day of the substantive hearing was set for 13 March 2003 .

24 February 2003 - "Expert Report /Proof of Evidence" Expert report by Mr Brian Gale to the LVT.

Sections 2 and 5 of this report can only be described as 'a pack of lies' .

Also worth noting in his report, Mr Gale also states that, at the 14 November 2002 meeting, leaseholders had the opportunity to get a copy of the priced specification.   By then, four months had elapsed since the original demand for payment had been sent - as it was dated 17 July 2002.

24 February 2003 - "Expert Report prepared by Mr T Brock acting as Expert witness for the respondent" i.e. my surveyor

4 March 2003 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to Mr Brian Gale (which was supplied as part of the evidence for the tribunal hearings in March-April 2003), stating under point 19

".regarding the proposed penthouse .although the planning permission was granted it was subsequently found that the scheme was not a viable proposition . there are no plans to build the penthouse at the property " (NB!!!!)

13 March 2003 - First day of the substantive hearing.   During the hearing, Mr Andrew Ladsky (who was a member of Steel Services party throughout the 4 day LVT hearing) said to the Panel:  

"Will Ms Rawé pay the £250,000 (US$441,000) of additional costs that will be incurred as a result of the delay in the start of the works due to hearing?"  

The Chair replied that I was perfectly within my rights to challenge the application made by Steel Services.  

This was captured in the 17 June 2003 LVT report under point 64:

"Although she is in the minority, the Respondent's legal right to challenge the Applicant's proposal, as she had done, cannot be fettered"

13 March 2003 - My reply to Mr Brian Gale's section 2 and 5 of his 24 February 2003 report to the LVT.   Reply handed to the LVT Panel and Steel Services party on 28 April 2003, third and final day of the LVT hearing.

Among others, Mr Gale stated that I was, by then, the only tenant challenging the demand.   This was a lie - as evidenced for example by Ms McLean's 9 April 2004 letter to my then solicitors

".the landlord has intimated to the LVT that no other lessee is disputing the service charges demanded. That is clearly not the case."

14 March 2003 - Second day of the LVT hearing

(Numerous key events took place with West London County from this time onwards. See West London County Court for further detail)

2 April 2003 - Letter from the LVT confirming that "The adjourned LVT hearing will continue as scheduled on 28 April 2003."

7 April 2003 - Letter from my then solicitors to Ms Hathaway stating: "our Counsel will be making an Application for an Order under Section 20 (c) of the Act in relation to costs not being added to the service charge".

7 April 2003 - Same letter also sent to the LVT.

9 April 2003 - Letter from Ms Lisa McLean, Piper Smith & Basham (then acting for other leaseholders), to my then solicitors ". we shall be contending that the county court proceedings should be stayed pending the outcome of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal"

28 April 2003 - Third and last day of the LVT hearing

17 June 2003 - Date on which the LVT signed its determination .

Based on my surveyor's assessment of the determination ( * ) , the outcome of the LVT determination, in relation to the original global sum demanded of £736,206 (US$1.3 million) (£564,467 (US$995,400) excl. VAT and 11% management fees for Mr Brian Gale) was:

•  Amount disallowed by the LVT because improvements: £169,498 (US$299,000) (£129,958 (US$229,200) excl. VAT and fees) = 23% of the global sum demanded

•  Amount for which the LVT could not make a determination due to lack of specification = £188,784 (US$332,900) (£144,745 (US$255,250) excl. VAT and fees) = 25.6% of the global sum demanded

•  A view supported by the LVT, considering the terms of the lease, as well as RICS best practice, that the reserve fund should be used as contribution: £141,977 (US$250,400) - or 19.3% of the global sum demanded

Leaving an amount that can be charged of £235,947 (US$416,000) - or 32% of the original sum demanded .

In other words, £500,000 (US$882,000) of the sum demanded was not considered as reasonable.

My share of this at 1.956% equals £4,615 (US$8,150) (vs. the £14,400 (US$25,400) originally demanded)

( * ) NB:

(1) This is based on my surveyor's assessment of the LVT determination - given that the London LVT did not include a summary of the impact of its determination on the global sum demanded. (Hence, it failed to perform its legal remit, as defined under s.19 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985. See Leasehold Valuation Tribunal section, including the Head of the LVTs subsequent refusals to have a summary included)

(Please note that my surveyor, Mr Brock, LSM Partners, is a Chartered Surveyor, member of the RICS. To which I will add: a highly professional surveyor, with the utmost level of integrity)

(2) In the £500,000 (US$882,000) I have included £141,000 (US$250,400) of contingency fund. M y Counsel raised it as an issue during the hearing as Steel Services / Martin Russell Jones had not used it as contribution towards the costs - and were refusing to do so. (This is captured under point 34 of the LVT determination). (Although it eventually used it in case. See CKFT)

Although the LVT said to not have the jurisdiction to force Steel Services to use the contingency fund, considering Clause 2 (2) (e) of the lease (captured under point 59 of the LVT report), under points 62 the LVT quotes from the RICS Code.

While, under point 63, it argues that " The wording of the clause relating to the contingency fund or reserve fund in the lease is unambiguous.   It refers to costs expenses and outgoings "not being of an annually recurring nature", and as such surely envisages the type of works proposed at the subject property. the Tribunal considers it inequitable that this fund should not be used in part to fund the works, and cannot accept Mr Warwick's (Steel Services) contention that to divest or reduce the contingency fund would be "wrong"

Highlights from the LVT report are included, among others under Brian Gale and Martin Russell Jones sections.

Given the events with West London County Court, of the numerous points of note, I draw your attention to the penultimate sentence of point 64 , on page 15 of the 17 June 2003 LVT report:

".the Respondent and other tenants (NB !!!) could not be forced to contribute in the case of improvements and/or works not determined as reasonable by the Tribunal..."

24 June 2003 - At the West London County Court hearing, Mr Lanny Silverstone, CKFT, hands me

(1) " Major works apportionment 24th June 2002 Revised " produced by Martin Russell Jones for which, in my case (and that of other leaseholders), the original sum demanded has been reduced by 24.19%;

(2) a " A Draft Order and Case Summary " which, among others, state: "Majority of s/c expenditure approved. Where not approved, LVT said that because lack of sufficient detail in specification rather than because outside scope or not reasonable" .

Mr Silverstone did not provide any supporting document as to how this reduction was achieved . In any case, it was way-off the LVT determination as it disallowed: 23% of the global sum on the ground that the items were improvements; a further 26% due to lack of specification. In addition to this, there was also the issue of the contingency fund.

17 July 2003 - CKFT send me a 22 page document "Part III" of the specifications for the works with "Revised price" written as heading.

In the same correspondence, it also enclosed a copy of a 17 July 2003 letter to the judge stating, in relation to my letter of 15 July 2003 to the same judge:   "For current purposes we wish to record the fact that figures quoted in Ms Rawé's letter are wrong".

It was very clear to me from the document that Steel Services had not implemented the LVT determination.   However, I needed to get 'official proof' of this - given that the LVT had - 'most conveniently' for "Steel Services" aka Andrew Ladsky - not included a summary in its report of the impact of its determination on the global sum demanded (thereby failing to perform its legal remit).

Consequently, I spent another £1,800 (US$3,200) (on top of the £30,000+ (US$52,900) the LVT had cost me in terms of solicitors, barrister and surveyor) to get my surveyor to review Steel Services "revised priced" document in light of the LVT determination. Yet again, I was vindicated - as evidenced by the 31 July 2003 assessment by my surveyor, Mr Brock, LSM Partners.

21 July 2003 - In reply to Mr Silverstone's letter of 17 July 2003 asking ". the LVT to make a determination of the specific amount of the service charge payable by the tenant of flat 3, Ms Dit-Rawé." , the LVT wrote:

"It is not the duty of the Tribunal to assess the particular contribution payable by any specific tenant but only to determine the reasonableness , or otherwise of the service charges as a whole to go on the service charge account from which no doubt you can assess the proportion for that particular tenant " .

This clearly demonstrates that the LVT views the calculation of the service charges payable by individual lessees as being based on a fixed global sum to which the relevant fixed percentage share is applied - as the norm/ understands the terms of the lease as such - which indeed it is.

Further evidence of this is also found in Ms McLean's letter of 9 April 2003 to my then solicitors, in which she captured a voice message from the LVT Clerk:

"I have had an opportunity of speaking to the chairperson of the tribunal and she informs me that what the tribunal is looking to determine is the reasonableness of the global figure that's attributable to the whole block"

5 August 2003 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to 'All lessees' stating: "vast majority of leaseholders have paid their contribution; small minority who have not paid and this is delaying the implementation of the works. Solicitors acting on behalf of Steel Services are actively taking action against the lessees"

26 August 2003 - Although I did not owe a single penny because the demand was not compliant with the terms of my lease, as well as being in breach of statutory requirements (defined under sections 20 and 21 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985), at the hearing in West London County Court, I agreed to pay the sum of £2,255 (US$4,000) . ( See West London County Court for reasons)

21 October 2003 - CKFT faxed a document to Piper Smith & Basham described as a " Without Prejudice Claimant's Part 36 Offer " . It starts by stating,

"Our client maintains that, as a result of the LVT decision dated 17 June 2003, it is entitled to payment from your client of the sum of £10,917.27 (US$19,250) , as set out in the revised major works apportionment dated 24 June 2003 issued by Messrs Martin Russell Jones ".

It then proceeds with accusing me of having "caused inconvenience and expense to all the lessees of the building" because I "challenged both the LVT decision and continued to defend these proceedings"

In fact, remaining uncertainties resulted only from Steel Services failure to supply the LVT with enough information to take a final decision on all the issues and, as evidenced by the statement in the 'offer',

"our client has once again reviewed the revised apportionment dated 24 June 2003",

it is Steel Services that kept challenging the LVT determination. As it was clearly unhappy with it, it should have followed the proper channels: appeal to the Lands Tribunal.

It states the offer as £6,350.85 (US$11,200) emphasising that it includes allowance from the contingency fund

"our client is also prepared notionally to utilise the reserve fund to reduce the total figure"

This is VERY WRONG. As implied by the word "notionally" Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor -its client, Mr Ladsky, and his other puppets, Martin Russell Jones, did not do this for the other leaseholders (See CKFT)

And (in typical style!) demands £143.49 (US$250) of interest.

My surveyor determined that no changes had been made to the specifications i.e. the LVT's determination had not been actioned - among others, these should have included re-tendering for some of the proposed works. These items amount to £200,000 (US$352,700) or 26% of the original sum demanded.  

My position, which I repeated on countless occasions to Ms McLean, Piper Smith Basham/Watton, and West London County Court, was that without proper specifications and tendering process I could not determine what - if any of this amount - I am actually liable for under the terms of my lease.

Leaving aside the issue about non-compliance with the terms of my lease and L&T legislation, the offer represents an overcharge of £1,735 (US$3,100)

It took NINE MONTHS for me to obtain a consent order - which was endorsed by Wandsworth County Court on 1 July 2004 .

These amounted to nine months of hell, which included my taking back control of my case in December 2003.

For detail of events see Lawyers, Courts & LSO section, including all the sub-sections: Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor & Law Society, Piper Smith & Basham/Watton & Law Society, Stan Gallagher & Bar Council, Legal Services Ombudsman, West London County Court, Wandsworth County Court and Lord Falconer of Thoroton.

26 March 2004 - Letter from Ms Hathaway to "All Lessees":   "Due to excessive delays in collecting the contributions from all lessees (*) we have to inform you that it has been necessary to commence renegotiations with the original contractor and other contractors.

...At the current time the contract administrators Brian Gale and Associates are in discussion with the original contractor and others to obtain updated prices for the works. Once these prices have been obtained we will write to all lessees again giving the current cost, the intention being that the proposed works can be started as soon as possible.."

(*) Contrast this with earlier communications : e.g.

  • 'Ms Hathaway's letter of 16 December 2002 to me claiming that "the vast majority of the tenants have paid";
  • Mr Brian Gale, under point 2.09 of his 24 February 2003 "Expert Witness" report to the LVT: "...4 of the 5 objecting Respondents who attended the Pre-Trial Review on the 29th of October 2002 were now not objecting any further and had agreed to pay, or had paid."
  • Under 5.01 - "I would like to draw to the attention of the Tribunal that I am advised by the managing agents that now some 31 of 35 tenants have paid, either in full or substantial contributions toward the cost of the proposed works"
  • Under 5.02 - "It would therefore appear. that only one lone tenant continues to make any representation or objection of the 35 tenants"
  • Mr Andrew Ladsky in his March 2003 letter to the LVT - captured under point 50 of the LVT report, LVT/SC/007/120/02 determination (ref #992 on the LVT database) "31 or 32 of the 35 tenants have paid their contribution towards the major works..."

In his 14 July 2004 letter to me, Mr Barrie Martin, FRICS, backs-up the lies by heading the letter with:

"External repair and redecoration work plus internal refurbishment of common parts"

2 August 2004 - Mr Barrie Martin writes to 'All the Lessees' stating that the contract has been awarded to Mansells and that

"At this stage we will not require further monies from you as the contract sum of £513,656.70 (US$995,300) plus VAT will not at the present time exceed the original lowest estimate" .

Not only does he not include the VAT amount, he also does not include the management fees (which on the original demand was 11%).  

I view this as deception as the addition of both, actually brings the total to £669,937 (US$1.81 million) - making this just £66,269 (US$116,850), or 9% cheaper than the Killby & Gayford quote - on which the LVT determination was based.

Mansell was not one of the contractors who tendered against Killby & Gayford. There has been no tender from Mansell.

Therefore the 'so called' Section 20 Notice of 2002 has been invalidated and a new one should have been issued. This has not happened.

The evidence is clear: Steel Services is so intent on making leaseholders pay for works for which they are not liable that it has opted to ignore the LVT determination.

It is also abundantly clear from Barrie Martin's letter of 2 August 2004 that Steel Services intended to come back and ask for more money for 'these works' at a later stage. Which is exactly what happened in my case (see below: 21 October and 16 November 2004) (See also Pridie Brewster for further detail). (I am not in contact with other leaseholders).

The letter from Ms Hathaway dated 26 March 2004 states that they were "commencing renegotiations with the original contractor and other contractors." . I have not received any communication between this letter and that of 2 August 2004.

The implication of this under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, in particular the statutory instrument 2003 No 1897 which came into force on 31 October 2003, is that of the £6,350 (US$11,200) Steel Services - Ms Hathaway have had from me (for nearly two years), they can only spend £250 (US$440) on Mansell. ( I do not even know what works Mansell has tendered for ).  

4 August 2004 - In his outrageous, libellous, scurrilous letter to me, Mr Barrie Martin, Martin Russell Jones, states that: " [I] refused to pay [my] contribution and this resulted in the proceedings before the LVT which of course resulted in the considerable delay in the commencement of the work" . I am sure that it's the story that he, Ms Hathaway - and their client - Mr Andrew Ladsky - 'fed' to other leaseholders at Jefferson House.

11 August 2004 - My reply to Mr Barrie Martin

3 rd week August 2004 - The scaffolding started to be put up. This needs to be viewed in the context of the claims of "urgency" , "leaking roof" etc. AND the admission 3.5 years previously that the works were "overdue" (which they were):

•  7 June 2001 letter from Ms Hathaway to 'All Lessees':   " .works are now overdue and it is planned to carry out a programme of refurbishment in accordance with the terms of the leases on the building in the near future. It is planned to commence the external refurbishment in the Autumn..." . The following must also be noted in Ms Hathaway's letter: "Pursuant to the terms of the head lease and underleases...there is an obligation to carry out works to the property at the relevant time. These works are now overdue." .   

Hence, there has been prolonged breach of the repair covenant by Martin Russell Jones.   In fact, the last major repairs took place more than 12 years - obviously leading to considerable deterioration of the block and therefore greater cost of repair

•  30 January 2002 email from Ms Hathaway to me:   "particularly bearing in mind the urgency of some of the required works"

•  26 March 2002 letter from Ms Hathaway to me: ". the roof has reached the end of its useful life and is leaking. The roof must be attended to as soon as possible . Considerable work needs to be undertaken to put the property into a substantial state of repair"

She also stated in this letter:   "We and the head lessees are simply complying with our .obligations under the leasehold interest"

•  20 January 2003 letter from Ms Hathaway to the LVT :

"The work is becoming more urgent as there are continuing problems with the roof, lift and boiler. Due to the delay in implementing them the problem with the roof is now deteriorating and causing substantial damage to the top flats"

•  Point 2.03 of Mr Brian Gale's 13 December 2002 "Expert report" to the LVT:

"Earlier e-mail copies had been sent to MRJ by BGA as early as 27th January 2002 in order that MRJ and their landlord clients could appreciate the extent and serious nature of the dilapidations and disrepair noted"

•  Point 5.09 of Mr Brian Gale's 24 February 2003 "Expert Report / Evidence of Proof":

" Jefferson House.has had very little or significant upgrading or refurbishment for many years. (!!!) It is clear, upon its face, that the building is in dire need of significant works to bring it up to a more modern standard and a proper, fit and substantial state of repair"

•  5 August 2003 letter from Ms Hathaway to 'All Lessees':

"The vast majority of leaseholders have paid their contribution in respect of the works but there is a small minority who have no paid and this is delaying the implementation of the works. we will be able to advise you of a starting date in the near future "

•  26 March 2004 letter from Ms Hathaway to 'All Lessees': ".the intention being that the proposed works can be started as soon as possible "

(See also the Photo gallery)

The reason for this is that, in spite of the conduct of West London County Court and Wandsworth County Court, Martin Russell Jones's client evidently wanted to make sure it had closure with all the leaseholders listed on the claim before announcing the start of the works.

This was done on the same day that the last leaseholder capitulated i.e. 2 August 2004, date of Mr Barrie Martin's letter to 'All the Lessees'

21 October 2004 - Invoice from Martin Russell Jones to me for £15,448 (US$27,300) which includes a 'Brought forward balance, £14,452 " (US$25,500). There was no explanation whatsoever as to what the sum refers to i.e. there was no supporting documentation.  

(I had previously received an invoice from Martin Russell Jones dated 24 May 2004 that stated "Brought forward balance, £13,430.50" which, likewise, provided no explanation whatsoever)

16 November 2004 - Another invoice followed from Martin Russell Jones, stating "Brought forward balance, £15,448 " (US$27,240) - likewise, with no explanation whatsoever

Please note that, by 23 October 2004: (1) CKFT had taken payment from me of the sum of £6,350 (US$11,200) several months previously - as evidenced in its 17 February 2004 letter; (2) I had informed Ms Hathaway of this in my letter to her dated 31 December 2003 , stating

"I have submitted to CKFT full and final payment of my share of the costs for carrying out all the major works at Jefferson House (£6,350.85).This was a NatWest cheque #1413. Also for your information, in the same correspondence sent to CKFT on 19 December, I also enclosed cheque NatWest #1414 for £264.04 in full payment of electricity charges"

I had hoped that by then common sense would prevail over greed and arrogance which have been the driving force from Day 1 and that I would be left in peace.

Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site, you would think that somebody with two brain cells, facing somebody like me - who had nonetheless paid the sum of £6,350 (US$11,200) that was not due and payable - would have backed-off.

Such is the profile of Mr Ladsky et. al. and their aides   - and the extent of their arrogance and greed... and of their 'justified' belief in the supporting infrastructure of surveyors, lawyers, tribunals, courts, etc.

The message was very loud and clear: Mr Ladsky et. al. wanted to continue the fight.   They are clearly intent on ruining me / getting my flat for next to nothing.  

As I could find myself back in court, given my first-hand experience with West London County Court, CKFT, as well as with Martin Russell Jones - I opted to file a complaint against both, CKFT and Martin Russell Jones (1MB) with their respective professional body.

For over a year, from November 2004 until January 2006, I had no communication from Martin Russell Jones. At this point, I received an invoice dated 9 January 2006, this time stating a "Brought forward balance" of £5,625 (US$9,900). Yet again, no explanation provided.

I stress that I have not paid the previous two invoices. Another invoice followed in June 2006 stating a " Brought forward balance" of £8,621 (US$15,200).   As with the prior invoices: no explanation as to the composition of the sum.

Hence, what is the amount currently hanging over my head? £15,500 (US$27,300)(?), £14,500 (US$25,600)(?), £5,625 (US$9,900)(?), £8,621 (US$15,200)(?) or all four combined i.e. £44,246   (US$78,000)?

What else is going to be dropped on me 'with the compliments of Mr Ladsky et. al. and their aides'? What will they think of tomorrow? Sending me an invoice for £20,000 (US$35,000)? And what about the day after tomorrow? Will they wake up thinking that it would 'be fun' to send me an invoice for £30,000 (US$53,000)? £40,000 (US$70,500)? £50,000 (US$88,000)?   More?   (Subsequent note - See Portner and Jaskel and West London County Court - Post 2004 for update )

The £5,625 (US$9,900) invoice includes, among others, an advanced demand of £814 (US$1,435) for the first half of 2006. I assume it purports to be based on the "Steel Services estimated expenditure for year ending 31 December 2006" (I cannot determine how the sum was arrived at).

Among others, this "estimated expenditure" is FRAUDULENT as, since 31 January 2006, a superior headlessor, Lavagna Enterprises Limited has been added, and controls the last floor. (See Owners identity and Pridie Brewster for detail)

The 30 June 2006 invoice represents an increase of £2,995 (US$5,281) over the 9 January 2006 invoice. As can be seen from the 30 June pack , my half-yearly service charge BEFORE the addition of four new flats , including a penthouse flat that spans the whole length and width of the top floor, and BEFORE the complete overhaul of Jefferson House, was £680 (US$1,200).

As to CKFT, although acting solicitors for Steel Services, it is keeping away from me. Indeed, when, what I consider to be a bogus 'offer of first refusal' was sent to me in February 2006, Mr Ladsky opted to use another one of his cowboy firm of solicitors, Portner and Jaskel. (NO, I am not going to say 'allegedly' as any fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site will have no difficulty understanding why I am saying this)

I believe it is 'fair comment' (in operation until 2013) for me to say that this firm has -   with malicious intent - provided me with false and misleading information in relation to its 10 February 2006 "notice of disposal by landlord" - an important legal document. Events are summarised in my 30 April 2006 letter to Portner and Jaskel. (See Notices by landlord - 10 February 2006 for detail). (Subsequent note: Since 2007, Portner and Jaskel has certainly confirmed my perceptions of it )

Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site, please remember that...

THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED is due to...

Mr Ladsky et. al. and their aides deciding that I (and other leaseholders) would be made to pay for this (2.4MB): the CONSTRUCTION OF A PENTHOUSE FLAT, ADDITION OF THREE OTHER FLATS AND RELATED WORKS - FOR WHICH WE ARE NOT LIABLE.

(This pack (2.3MB), as well as this pack (1.1MB) contain key evidential documents. As to the pay-off, it is evidenced by the block sale of flats in the latter part of 2006, beginning of 2007 which, of course, are in addition to the sale of the penthouse flat BGL 54 458 for £3.9 million (US$6.9m) in December 2005, etc.

In October 2007, the selling price was £6,500,000 (US$11.5m)

Jefferson House July 2002

 

Jefferson House September 2005

 

To be more precise:

( PDF of above diagram - at February 2006)

UNBELIEVABLE! ISN'T IT?

MR ANDREW LADSKY ET. AL., CAWDERY KAYE FIREMAN & TAYLOR, MARTIN RUSSELL JONES, MR BRIAN GALE, PIPER SMITH BASHAM AND MR GALLAGHER CAUSED ME TO DEVELOP THIS WEBSITE.

THIS OUTCOME IS OF THEIR OWN DOING .

  C O M M E N T S

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