Greenbelt recently won significant victory in a landmark case in Perth Sheriff Court when, after more than two and a half years of legal wrangling by a disgruntled resident, the court eventually found in Greenbelt's favour, including an award of expenses.
This must rate as one of the longest running small claims cases in Scottish legal history.
Edmund Andrew Forbes from our Balgarvie development in Scone, launched a small claims case against us in May 2009 for around £150. This was for the price of two years annual management charge, claiming the company had not done any work in that time. As the specification provides for routine maintenance to be carried out approximately every two weeks from April to October and monthly visits from November to March, to claim no work had been carried out at all for two years was obviously incorrect. The development would have resembled a jungle in that time had this been true.
While Mr Forbes produced witnesses to back up his claim and had support from a few disaffected Greenbelt customers, the case was eventually thrown out on 30 September.
"Common sense has prevailed", said John Beveridge, Head of Customer Services with Greenbelt. "We told Mr Forbes, in writing, in March 2009 that his claim was nonsense. Now, after taking up over 2½ years of court time he has failed to convince the Sheriff of his case as well and we are happy this has now been found in our favour", he added. "This is a great outcome for Greenbelt."
The court found that: -
- Management and maintenance of the development did take place to specification and therefore there was no breach of contract by Greenbelt;
- The development was maintained sufficiently well to satisfy the planning authority and no complaint or enforcement action was ever taken by them;
- The developer was satisfied with the standard and level of maintenance.
"In my opinion Mr Forbes was sadly misguided and badly advised", said Mr Beveridge. "He was egged on by irresponsible individuals with no knowledge of the law and intent on pursuing a personal vendetta against the company. This will be a huge blow to their so-called anti Greenbelt campaign", he stated. "The development is looking good, customers are paying on time, there are no current Customer Care issues, and our contractor is performing well."
Mr Beveridge added, "Importantly, the Judgement supports our right to charge - and be paid - for a fair and legal business undertaking. It also justifies Greenbelt's actions to pursue all outstanding debt, and strengthens its legal rights to do so".
The Sheriff-Principal's written judgement was received on 14 October 2011.
As of 23 November, Mr Forbes has now also paid all outstanding expenses due by him.