Late ground rent and subletting

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  • eagle2
    replied
    Gordon999 - That is a very old LVT decision which you have attached and it cannot be used as a precedent. I agree however that it is useful to know the thinking of the Tribunal on that occasion.

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  • vmart
    replied
    Hi Gordon

    Thank you so much - very interesting and useful.

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  • Gordon999
    replied
    Originally posted by vmart View Post
    Hi, Please can you signpost where I can find details of the above cases.
    Thank you.
    https://decisions.lease-advice.org//...-6000/5359.pdf

    section 34 in conclusions is saying something helpful


    34.As far as the arrears late payment charges are concerned, it is clear to the Tribunal that the contra preferentem rule applies so that any ambiguity in the wording of the leases should be construed in the
    lessee's favour. Thus any right to claim what amount to administration charges etc. must be clear and unambiguous. In this case, the leases provide for the landlord to claim expenses 'in and about the maintenance and proper and convenient management and running of the building' but not further.

    The leases do not expressly permit the landlord to claim late payment fees or interest on late payments.

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  • sam_cat
    replied
    And please, get your Royal Mail redirect back in place, and keep it in place...

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  • andydd
    replied
    RPTS and Lease Advice sites have archive of decisions, can be a bit tricky to track down stuff though.

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  • vmart
    replied
    Hi, Please can you signpost where I can find details of the above cases.
    Thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • eagle2
    replied
    Well done, it is always nice to know when someone succeeds in recovering an unreasonable charge. From their point of view, it is easier to write it off rather than face an adverse decision by the FTT. Sadly many leaseholders just pay up.

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  • chuck990
    replied
    "Although the additional admin fees were applied to your account as per the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, I am willing to remove the remaining £60.00 to settle this matter."

    ^^ From their latest email.

    Many thanks to all for your help. I invited them to apply to the FTT, having pointed out that they were incorrect, pointing to relevant cases:

    - Upper Tribunal case number LRX/92/2015
    Which shows that defensive clauses only protect landlord from 3rd party costs, not their own work done in chasing debt

    - LVT case CAM/00 KF/OCE/2010/0009
    Which shows that unless there is a specific and unambiguous clause in the lease stating that an admin charge is to be paid, it is not owed.

    I pointed out that they were now in breach of the lease for preventing "quiet enjoyment of the property" and said that should they apply to the FTT I would seek costs for time spent dealing with their harassment.

    Hope the above can be of help to others in the future

    For me, next step will be bringing the sub-let back into compliance with the lease. I expect there to be some large demands for fees here too which I will have to fight - I may look for further advise down the line!

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  • chuck990
    replied
    Having had a quick google, it does appear that they have been involved in FTT cases before. Mostly to do with subletting charges.

    They have a 2007 case in which they were successful in demanding a sublet fee (linked below) which they have supposedly pointed to even since the 2012 "£40 is reasonable" decision.

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  • eagle2
    replied
    Unfortunately, that is exactly what some freeholders rely on, they compound the unreasonable charges and then hope that you will submit into paying in full in order to avoid the hassle of applying to the FTT.

    Have you checked to see if the freeholder has been involved in previous FTT cases?

    Your options appear to be (1) pay in full, (2) try to negotiate by offering to pay what you consider to be a reasonable amount (3) ask them to make an application to the FTT, (4) make an application to the FTT yourself or (5) sit back and wait to see what happens next

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  • chuck990
    replied
    It's the mounting sum of the charges that worries me. If they continue to invent charges so that the amount grows, I don't want to end up liable for some impossible sum that I cannot afford to pay

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  • eagle2
    replied
    I don’t think that the FTT has the jurisdiction to say that a sum should be refunded, all they can determine is whether or not an amount is payable and whether or not an amount is reasonable. It is then up to you to recover the amount.

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  • andydd
    replied
    If it were me..Im not sure I'd make an application solely due to the fact the cost is a few hundreds pounds...whilst its possible that a FTT make ask the FH to refund it..its not certain.

    Id just sit tight and see what their next step is......unfortunately..it sometimes ends in a viscous circle of charges on top of charges.

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  • eagle2
    replied
    As andydd has stated, you should invite them to make the application. That way the burden of proof lies with them.

    If they do not make the application and do not reverse the charges, you may need to make an application yourself but at least you will be able to state that they were invited to make an application and it is reasonable to assume that they were not confident of succeeding therefore you had no alternative but to make an application yourself.

    When making future payments, you should make it clear exactly what you are paying and state that payments may not be accepted for any other purpose and in particular disputed charges.

    If you are satisfied that the lease does not permit the charges and the charges are unreasonable anyway, there should be no/little risk of losing the decision.

    The FTT could award costs against the losing party whoever makes the application.

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  • chuck990
    replied
    Hi,

    Should I
    A) Apply to the Tribunal myself
    B) Inform them that if they will not drop it I will apply and look to recover costs
    C) Inform them that they must apply if they wish to continue to chase the charge

    If they apply, I am sure they will look to add their own 'legal fees' onto what is owed. These will also, I believe, be unrecoverable, but should the decision go the wrong way at the tribunal I could be on the hook for $$$

    Leave a comment:

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