Celebration as LVT rules in favour of residents following two year effort.
City centre councillors have welcomed the decision by the First Tier Property Tribunal (LVT) to find in favour of residents in their battle with Guinness Northern Counties over unfair service charges and unnecessary or costly building works.
In a case which was submitted last May, with two hearings in March and July of this year, a ruling was made this week which judges that residents have been paying excessive service charges, with a new lower level set and refunds from 2007-2014 for leaseholders, which could result in up to £1,700 being returned to individual residents.
The panel also found that £46,000 which was spent on painting windows which residents say was unnecessary and they were not properly consulted on should also be refunded to the building's reserve fund.
Cllr Kevin Peel, who has supported residents from the outset - holding a meeting with Lucy Powell MP and the senior management of Guinness, organising a walkabout of the building with residents and GNC staff and attending both LVT hearings in support of residents - said:
"I'm really pleased with this result which we've been working towards for two years and is a vindication residents who have long believed that they have not been getting a fair deal.
"Many residents from other blocks who are considering similar action will be looking at this result with interest. I would encourage you to contact me so that we can provide advice, information and support.
"We have some excellent managing agents in the city but we also have some who are not acting in the best interests of residents. Let this be a warning to those latter that we will be coming for you."
Granby House resident Martijn de Roo, who led the campaign on behalf of fellow leaseholders, said:
"I am absolutely ecstatic with the outcome of the LVT and believe the Tribunal has made the right and fair decision.
"It has not been an easy 18 months and it takes a lot of organising skills, but for anyone who strongly believes they are being treated unfairly by their management company, do not get value for money and feels their building, their home, is not being managed properly, all I can say is do it, stick to the facts and the justice will follow!
"Another positive outcome is that it has brought Granby House Residents, other people who face similar issues with their management company as well as our local council closer together and has created a forum to share knowledge, experience and generate ideas to take action."