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Estate Agents Lying About Flat Management Companies

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All the flats I've been looking at have tended to be house conversions where there are at most five flats in the block. Unlike in large tower blocks or purpose built blocks there is never any concrete information on who the management companies are, all the estate agents do is quote you a figure along the lines of "we think it's about £XXXX a month"- ie. what the market rate is. I'm in the position now of having got a mortgage finally secured for such a property, and after 2 months of waiting to sign a contract (there were several delays, some of them my own fault some of them the vendors solicitors') I am now in the position of actually completing on the sale. Problem is it turns out that the estate agent lied when they said there is a management company.

Now, I'm going to go round the flats and see if I can talk to any of the residents but I may hit a brick wall due to their being few residents (it's only 1/3 occupied and they mightn't be in) and if the intercom doesnt work then there's literally no way I can speak to anyone. I've heard of the concept about residents forming their own management company but I'm sure this is a load of nonsense as the vast majority of properties I'm looking at will have tenants for neighbours rather than leaseholders. This is presumably a common issue yet my google searches on this subject always seem to assume that flat sales are dominated by owner occupiers whereas in Britain it must surely be more common for them to be bought by landlords to let?

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So it begs the question. Is it ilegal for estate agents to a lie and can they be sued/ punished for their actions. Because in my case I DEFINITELY was lied to. I have of course already spent over £500 on solicitors fees and the like and in any other industry the lawbreaker would have to reimburse me for false advertising.

This is going to be a huge issue for me if it can't be resolved as the silence practiced by estate agents when it comes to management companies means that EVERY property I will ever look at is suspect, and it's untenable to pay over 500 quid every 2 months for properties that literally can't be bought, just because it is impossible for estate agents to speak the truth. Their immaturity is effectively meaning it is unlikely I'll ever buy a flat.

Anyone else had similar issues and was there a realistic solution to the problem?

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1, Do you have proof in the written material for the estate agent?

2, It's the estate agent and solicitors jobs to inform you about these details in the first place, you shouldn't have to go knocking door-2-door.

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I don't quite understand question 1.

As for question 2, I agree it's not my job to go knocking on doors trying to find the answer to a question that the vendors solicitors have known for maybe half a year- sums up the disfunctional market that is housing to a tee. I'll do it anyway but I'm 99% certain that no good will come of it. The problem is that the property is a repossession. Nothing physically wrong with it but the mere word repo means any estate agent will use it as a catch all excuse to avoid doing any work, and they straight up refuse to let you contact the vendors solicitors. It's only after many weeks of being the accepted bidder (with the house taken off the market) that my solicitor finally recieves the legal documents that show the management company has been dissolved. Other than the huge dissapointment of realising it is highly unlikely that this sale is going to go through, it is important to remember that this estate agent has verbally said to me "yes there is a management company in place", which is by any definition a lie. I don't have a dictaphone recording to prove it but that's the bottom line.

What surprises me the most is that estate agents waste their time trying to sell a property that virtually no one is going to get a mortgage for, and somehow think that lying is going to solve the problem. All it does is delay the invevitable- the house still won't get sold

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Correct. I've never seen flats advertised with any mention of the management company/ charges- maybe they do that for under construction new builds but not older properties. Energy performance charts are the most intimate details you'll get really, other than what you see with your own eyes during the visits. Maybe this is unique to northern ireland but estate agents and vendors solicitors are incredibly cagey when it comes to information to do with reposessions. The whole attitude seems to be one of 'well we'll make such a small commission fee it's not worth putting the effort in'. Just baffles me why estate agents and vendors waste their own time marketing a flat that no one who wasnt' in the BTL business would buy. They knew full well that the truth would come out once the deeds were sent to a buyers solicitor.

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Hmm.. interesting.

So there may presently be no management company.. but why is that a problem?

Surly the question is who is the freeholder?

My understanding is that the Freeholder appoints a management company to fulfil their obligations. If the management company goes bust surly the freeholder then appoints a new management company?

Or am I missing something?

If the freeholder is a company that goes bust then one or all of the leaseholders could approach the receiver to but the freehold.

If you have got this far then you have a solicitor on board... if your solicitor is any decent talk to them about this and really understand the problem and any potential ways forward!

Good Luck!

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