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Query re Lawyers 
Post: #1   PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:08 pm Reply with quote
sunnysuzie
Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 1301
Pictures: 6
Location: Oroklini

 
Hi,
I hope someone can help me, I have never used lawyers so do not know the correct procedure and if we are being ripped off.

In 2014 we hired a lawyer to set up a committee for our pool and communal area, we have 2 non payers, one who lives on the complex the other lives in the USA. The lawyers said there could do a trace on the one in the USA and it would be harder to collect her money but could be done, and the one that lives on the complex would be easy. We paid a retainer which included visits to the complex which we never needed.

A little further on they announced they could do nothing with the lady that lives in the USA unless she comes to Cyprus.

A year on they asked if we wanted to renew the retainer, they told me if we didnt it would just mean if we needed visits it would cost alot more. We didnt as we dont have the funds due to the x2 non payers and didnt need any visits.

On 21st June they applied for a court order for the one that lives on the complex to get a regular payment scheme. I recently asked what was happening as we are running out of money, I was told they would be filing an application shortly. It seems to be taking forever and they are dragging their feet.

We thought the lady from the USA was here visiting, when I told the lawyers they said as we hadn't renewed our retainer the cost of a lawyers letter would be 119, instead of a few euros previously.

The girl dealing with our complex is very young and timid, she has phoned the non payers been shouted out and they have hung up, and she has not pursued anything.

Are we being ripped off and should we look for a new lawyer? I know we would probably have to be another retainer, but the people that do pay are doing so at the moment so the funds will be available.

Any advice would be appreciated as these x2 non payers owe over 3,000 between them and a small complex of 8 houses it is causing real problems.

Sorry for the long winded post

Thanks

Sue
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Post: #2   PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:07 am Reply with quote
Steve - SJD
Site Admin
Site Admin
Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 24091
Pictures: 55

 
Hi Sue,

Can only give an opinion based on the above and that would be to stop using
the services of the lawyer. They don't look to have done that much and what
they have done you could probably have done yourselves and saved money.

Cheers

Steve
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Post: #3   PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:17 pm Reply with quote
sunnysuzie
Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 1301
Pictures: 6
Location: Oroklini

 
Hi Steve,

Thanks for that. That is what my gut feeling says as well. We will still need a lawyer to chase up the non payers, but I have had a recommendation this time

Sue
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Post: #4   PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:38 pm Reply with quote
bubblechris
Joined: 27 Mar 2009
Posts: 4860
Pictures: 0
Location: Waltham Abbey, Essex E9

 
Sue ask your new solicitors if they can get you the moneys owed from the local defaulter because as far as I can recall the Courts will nor order payments but will authoress the attachment of a memorandum on the defaulters property that will stop them selling the property till you are paid.

Some have been known to pay up as soon as they realise you're serious but if they have no money then you will never see the arrears till they leave the property and someone forces the sale of it.

Personally I think you will not see any money in the near future from this defaulter but you could be lucky. Make them uncomfortable, keep pressing them, accept installments if they agree.

With the US resident you should be able to sue them in the US but it will cost so maybe wait till the arrears are substantial then take action. Make their stays in Cyprus miserable, within the law of course, and hope they will realise they are in the wrong.

Be guided by your new lawyers but understand that it is not that easy so consider very carefully how you proceed.
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Post: #5   PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:25 pm Reply with quote
sunnysuzie
Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 1301
Pictures: 6
Location: Oroklini

 
Thanks for all your replies and answers. Do any of you know if it is usual to expect a yearly retainer?

George I will email you in the next day or so, thank you.

The US resident has people staying in her house, and they have had the cheek to use the pool, which is upsetting people that do pay. She then had the cheek to email me telling me not to bother her guests!

Cheers

Sue
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Post: #6   PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:55 pm Reply with quote
George C
Joined: 04 Aug 2016
Posts: 10
Pictures: 0

 
Having an annual lawyer's retainer for a block of flats/houses is not really common.

Unless it is a case of a block which continuously has litigation issues, i.e. cases against non-paying owners etc, and the retainer includes the fees and costs of these cases, I would say it is cheaper for the block to not have a retainer and simply pay the lawyer per case.

George
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Post: #7   PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:58 pm Reply with quote
bubblechris
Joined: 27 Mar 2009
Posts: 4860
Pictures: 0
Location: Waltham Abbey, Essex E9

 
sunnysuzie wrote:
Thanks for all your replies and answers. Do any of you know if it is usual to expect a yearly retainer?

George I will email you in the next day or so, thank you.

The US resident has people staying in her house, and they have had the cheek to use the pool, which is upsetting people that do pay. She then had the cheek to email me telling me not to bother her guests!

Cheers

Sue


Suzie gate the pool, ut on a combination lock, give the code to apartments that pay and not to non payers and put up a notice saying trespassers will be reported to the local police.

Then it should be the American's problem to deal with.
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Post: #8   PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:40 pm Reply with quote
PPT
Joined: 22 Aug 2014
Posts: 187
Pictures: 0
Location: Cyprus

 
While I agree with the sentiment, that people who dont pay should not use the facilities (bloody cheek after all).

You may find that restricting their access to something they technically jointly own (even if not paying for it) would cause you more trouble than it would solve.

Firstly it gives them an excuse not to pay in the future and it could prejudice any case you take against them for their historic arrears as there is no provision in the law to do that.

The law is written with an idealistic mind, and while it is very strong on these matters it is hampered by the current delay in the legal system and lack of a small claims procedure.

However the unfortunate fact is the law is the law, and it is expected that if someone does not follow their legal obligations you would start the necessary collection actions against them.

Again to emphasise, I fully agree that it would be lovely to be able to do things like this, but unfortunately we can only be patient.
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Post: #9   PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:27 pm Reply with quote
Campbell Findlay
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 3621
Pictures: 0
Location: Kapparis January 2007

 
We have two non payers on our complex.I wanted to have keys made for the lifts and issued to those who pay their dues,but I was told IMay be infringeiing their human rights!!

Campbell Twisted Evil

_________________
Shy bairns get nae sweeties.
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Querie 
Post: #10   PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:20 pm Reply with quote
emanon
Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 827
Pictures: 0
Location: Oroklini

 
It's been my experience that most of the winners in taking legal advice and action, are the lawyers, who seem to drag things on for their own gain.
I've found the use of the Wensday Principle works without using a lawyer. May be you can get together and send a letter to these people which may frighten them. Email me if you need help with this,
As previously suggested, make them feel unwanted and distasteful when they are around, but as you obviously know, breaking the law is not a good idea. You could find a more devious solution perhaps! Smile Wink
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Post: #11   PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:24 pm Reply with quote
sunnysuzie
Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 1301
Pictures: 6
Location: Oroklini

 
Thanks peeps, I have sent bills out stating the 2 non payers were not allowed to use the pool, I then get nasty texts threatening me with legal action for defamation? She reckons she can use the pool and is a part owner and does so blatantly. The two non payers are foul mouthed and ignorant. Our so called lawyer rings them, they shout n swear at her and hang up, the lawyer rings me giggling about it?
We can't gate the pool as the previous chairman decided to rip out the 8ft tall hedge that surrounded the pool for privacy and security, he didn't tell anyone he was doing this, then sold his house and left me with this total mess. I have no help from other owners am doing it single handily am fed up and totally disillusioned
Sue
Be in the nut house soon
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Post: #12   PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:18 pm Reply with quote
journo
Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 5425
Pictures: 17

 
PURE Pool Training wrote:
While I agree with the sentiment, that people who dont pay should not use the facilities (bloody cheek after all).

You may find that restricting their access to something they technically jointly own (even if not paying for it) would cause you more trouble than it would solve.

Firstly it gives them an excuse not to pay in the future and it could prejudice any case you take against them for their historic arrears as there is no provision in the law to do that.


I doubt that, PURE Pool Training.

The law does not permit owners to arbitrarily 'withhold' payment of Common Parts.

Common Parts debtors have no legal 'voice' in the management of their complex, and no right to vote in its affairs.

Been there, seen it, done it, got the T-Shirt and - more importantly - the Court rulings against the debtors Smile.
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query 
Post: #13   PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:12 am Reply with quote
emanon
Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 827
Pictures: 0
Location: Oroklini

 
I do sympathise as I've been dealing with something on my own for over 6 years. (lawyers were costing the earth and without success it appeared) I was even denied the basic human right of being allowed to defend myself in Court where of course there is no jury So, it seems useless to me to involve lawyers.
What does the contract say about non-payers? May be a start would be to put a large notice near these peoples' -not on their property -apartments, but they sound unconcerned and uncouth. Put their names on the form -very carefully worded of course, and "Without Prejudice'. Put the phone down if they are shouting, swearing -people don't like not being able to rant at someone.
As the property is seemingly rented out may be you should tell the tenants that they have no right to use the pool and explain why, and that you will call the police if they continue to make a nuisance by doing so. Basically the non payment could probably come under the Theft Act- the owners 'permanently depriving the other..........'
Your lawyer laughing? All the way to the bank!
I do hope this is helpful -have been battling something (as well as cancer) for the last 6 1/2 years. Idea
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Post: #14   PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:29 am Reply with quote
davidmonk
Joined: 14 Mar 2010
Posts: 317
Pictures: 0
Location: UK, Bromsgrove

 
The person who claims to have joint ownership of the pool (which they do) have to contribute their proportion of its upkeep. At the very worst, if no one pays for the upkeep, then the pool has to be drained or the water will go rank and become a health hazzard and then the council can come and drain the pool for the sake of all nearby residents. See what that owner will say then when they have no pool for their tenants to use.

I would tell the tenants that the owner is not paying their share of the upkeep of the pool and therefore the owner or occupants of that apartment are not entitled to use the pool. If the tenants are upset they cannot use the pool, then that could eventually lose the owner their tenants. If they cannot let their apartment because of this, good! If they need the rent, then they will have to pay up.

You are entitled to change the Regulations under the Law. therefore add new Regulations by a majority vote of 75%. Add a Regulation that is specific such that if an owner does not contribute for the upkeep of a facility in the complex, then they are not entitled to use that facility, or have access to it. Fit gates with a coded lock and only issue the code to those who pay.

Owners have to pay for the upkeep of a facility even if they do not have need or want to make use of the facility. The usual example that comes to mind is that of lifts and those who live on the ground floor. If their water tank is on the roof, they will most likely use the lift to get to the roof.

In the complex where my apartment is, I have never used the pool, nor do I want to use it, yet I have to pay for this very expensive luxury. However, since I let my apartment, the tenant can use the pool and therefore I am obliged to pay my proportion of the pool's upkeep.


David
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Post: #15   PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 2:27 pm Reply with quote
sunnysuzie
Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 1301
Pictures: 6
Location: Oroklini

 
Thanks David, I totally agree with you. Unfortunately if people dont want to pay even though it is law that they do, it is a lengthy procedure. It's not helped by the fact they were arrears when I took over the mess.

We dont have the funds at present to gate the pool, I have had quotes in and it's going to be quite expensive, but it is one route we want to go down, everyone who does pay will be given keys, the ones that dont wont be allowed access.

Thanks again

Sue
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Post: #16   PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:53 am Reply with quote
davidmonk
Joined: 14 Mar 2010
Posts: 317
Pictures: 0
Location: UK, Bromsgrove

 
Hello Sue

On reading your OP again, two non-payers out of a total of eight apartments seems to be about the norm. Whatever the percentage is, it is by this percentage those who pay have to pay extra to cover the expenses of the complex.

It has taken five years for our PMC managing our complex to bring the first known case (to me) to court and have a memo put against a property. I am told by some solicitors that the time taken to do this should be much quicker. This is something I shall be following up now I am back on the management committee.

Unfortunately, non-payers gives rise to the cost of credit control, which is and additional expense, which the payers pay for. The cost of credit control should be paid for by those who do not pay their community expenses. If you do not already do so, you could introduce a bonus scheme whereby those who pay in full and on time get rewarded with a bonus ( a payback). Those who do not pay on time, or in full, lose their bonus and that goes towards the cost of credit control. This is being implemented in my complex though we do not have a Regulation for this, though it was voted for at an AGM years ago. Others reading this and faced with the same problem of non-payers might want to consider introducing a bonus scheme to encourage owners to pay on time and in full.

It has already been suggested that a method of discretely naming and shaming is done to alert tenants to the failings of the owner to pay their contribution towards the community expenses.

I wish you well in resolving the problems you have with non-payers.

David


Last edited by davidmonk on Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:25 am; edited 3 times in total
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Query re Lawyers 
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