The pensioners of Regent Court, in Plymouth, face the prospect of another encounter in court with their freeholder Israel Moskovitz after being presented with a £140,000 bill to pay for a new roof.
The roof was damaged by storms in April 2012, but insurers AXA claim the condition of the roof would have voided the policy.
In the event, Moskovitz withdrew the claim. The residents had to pay £140,000 last January for a new roof.
The affairs of Regent Court come to the attention of the Court of Appeal next month owing to a three-year war of attrition between Moskovitz and residents determined to exercise their right to manage.
Regent Court won its right to manage at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in February 2012, but Moskovitz appealed against the ruling to the Upper Tribunal.
This appeal was heard in April this year – a scandalous 14 months after the LVT decision – and failed, with Moskovitz represented by barrister Justin Bates.
After the president of the Upper Tribunal Sir Keith Lindblom dismissed further appeal, the issue was taken up in the Court of Appeal.
Leave of appeal has been asked for and will be considered next month.
Meanwhile, the residents of Regent Court have not been able to exercise their right to manage. The site is still managed by Moskovitz’s business associate Joseph Gurvits, of Y and Y Management.
Sir Peter Bottomley’s letter to Israel Moskovitz (October 29, 11.52):
Dear Mr Moskovitz,
Re Roof Damage at Regent Court not paid for by insurance
Can I express my grave disappointment that you seem to have chosen to make the Regent Court pensioners take you and your firm to court once again.
In the case it is a matter relating to roof damage dating back to 18th April 2012. This damage was not paid for by insurance and which has now had to be funded from the leaseholders’ pockets. I am unclear why after so long you now advise that this is a matter “best bought in front of a judge” without setting out any reason for this sudden view.
Since 2012 your firm has continued to assert to both the pensioners and myself – notably in your report sent to me on the 3rd June 2013 – that no money had been paid from insurance for the roof damage because the insurance company had “declined the claim”
We have tried to work with you since the early part of this year and set out two clear options to help you to resolve this matter without confrontation.
We have advised that you could either take the matter to the financial ombudsman to review the non-payment from the insurance company, if you felt that their position was wrong.
Or, you could take independent arbitration to determine what if any liability you may have compensating the leaseholders for the replacement of the roof given its age.
As you are aware, AXA (the insurance company concerned) has now set out a position directly opposed to the statements that you have provided. They state ” There were clear grounds to void the policy once the Surveyors report came to light, however in order to continue to provide cover for the building and Leaseholders, an agreement was reached, through the independent broker, Reich, that AXA would not enforce their right in return for the claim being withdrawn”
It is also stated by the insurance company that you chose to withdraw the insurance claim as long ago as September 2012. I therefore remain unclear why you have continued to state up to our meeting in September 2013 that it was the insurance company who “declined the claim”.
As the result of your apparent non-cooperation, what more can be done to assist you and my colleague Oliver Colvile, MP?
I can provide the relevant evidence from both yourself and the insurance company to assist the pensioners in any litigation that they may feel obliged to take.
You have advised me in our meetings that it is not your way to seek to harm the pensioners who you must know have found the two years of litigation against your firm on the RTM issue extremely difficult.
To face them with another action appears cruel.
I urge you to independent arbitration if your position is genuine.