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Property Litigation Dispute - Fast Track or Multi-Track?

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  • Property Litigation Dispute - Fast Track or Multi-Track?


    I wonder if anybody could help me with advice as to how to file for an Order for Specific Performance along with damages arising from breach of covenant please?

    The case relates to an ongoing dispute I have with the freehold at a leasehold flat I own (I own an equal share of the freehold). The claim relates to the freeholds failure to uphold repairing obligations set out in the lease and the subsequent dilapidation of the building / continuous issues arising thereform.

    I've been taking professional legal advice for 2 years, which has cost me 15,000, and have had 2 sales abort at a cost of a further 5,000 as a result of unresolved problems with the building. I have completely depleted my savings and at the same time my mortgage has doubled and I am now at risk of losing my property. The value of the property has also diminished by 50,000 since first being marketed in 2021, partly due to the state of the building, which is grade II listed, and the ongoing flood risk in the basement beneath my flat (which the freehold own and are responsible for maintaining).

    My question are:

    - which court should I apply to: fast track or multi-track (the case involves both specific performance and a claim for damages)
    - which form do I need to apply with (I've been advised it's the N16a form, but I believe I've been misinformed). I want to apply for a specific performance order, not a mandatory injunction

    It should be noted that the disrepair issiues are convoluted and likely to be disputed by the other side. Also that, according to professional surveyors' reports, the amount that needs investing in the building could be anywhere between 100,000 and 500,000 over the next decade.

    In terms of damages I would like to claim for:
    - legal fees (10,000-15,000)
    - aborted sales fees (conveyancing and estate agency fees of approx. 5,000)
    - diminution in sales value of 25,000
    - out of pocket expenses including security and flood monitoring equipment, decorating sundries, hire equipment and and expenses incurred travelling to / from the property to deal with issues etc.

    NB The freehold has less than 30,000 in cash. Their only asset is the freehold of the building. I have been advised however that it may be possible to make a charge against individual leaseholders' properties, which would probably be a deterrent enough to achieve some sort of resolution and compensation.

    I realise also that the burden of proving 'disrepair' is on me, and that it will inevitably be disputed by the freehold.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated (I've exhaused all the usual avenues: Citizens Advice, Leasehold Advisory Service, Advocate etc.). I just need to get the forms submitted now. ASAP.
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  • #2

    First of all, with that kind of money at stake, you would be wise to look at paying for legal representation or at least obtaining your prospects of success in obtaining an injunction and damages. Property disputes are complex and become very costly very quickly.

    There is no such thing as fast track or multi-track courts. They are tracks which cases are allocated to depending on a number of factors all within the County Court. Based on the value of the claim it's more than likely your claim will be allocated to the multi-track but that's a decision for the court to make, not yourself.

    Preparing applications of this kind are going to be way beyond the scope that this forum and I certainly wouldn't be comfortable in assisting you with the money you are looking to recover, especially if you lose then you may be subject to a costs order against you that, if defendant could run into tens of thousands.

    I'm afraid your situation sounds like it needs expert help, and I would strongly recommend you consider that if possible.
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    • #3
      Thank you Rob. It is a very complex case indeed. I have since managed to sell the propert having lost around 70k in diminution in sales value and legal fees. I'm not sure I can stomach much more. Never purchase a leasehold property in the UK is the moral of the story!


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