Leaseholder refusing to contribute to repairs/agreed work.

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    Leaseholder refusing to contribute to repairs/agreed work.

    Hi,

    I'm in a block of six and all the owners, bar one, have agreed to minor necessary upgrade. It's about £200 each.

    The one owner has been very obstructive and refused to agree for months, but has finally said he doesn't care and it can go ahead but he refuses to contribute. This was accompanied by extensive personal abuse so I'm not keen to engage much with him if possible!

    It's a small amount of money and I'm sure the others would agree to split it, but is there anything we can do in future for this? There are other more major works (damp in foundation) and I suspect he's going to also refuse to pay since his flat isn't on the ground floor. (Sigh...)

    We have a RTM company which ran smoothly until this person bought in so I'm I'll have to source a copy of the agreement. Up to this point we just shared costs as per the lease agreements.

    I'd welcome any advice!


    #2
    You should comply strictly with the lease and not make any voluntary contributions.

    You should make every effort to understand the leaseholder’s objections and try to reach some sort of agreement if at all possible otherwise disputes can escalate and become a major problem.

    If a leaseholder refuses to adhere to the terms of the lease, you should warn him that you will take legal action if necessary but that should be a last resort and you should avoid legal costs if possible.

    Comment


      #3
      Most leases don't allow for upgrades, so if this really is an upgrade, you have no right to demand the payment.

      There is a provision for the FTT to rule that the inability to pay for certain improvements is a critical defect in the lease. As I've failed to find good examples of cases using this option, I suspect people expect to only use it if actually challenged, and then use it retrospectively.

      If this is one of the cases that statute considers necessary, you could point out that formally getting the lease changed is likely to cost them more than £200 in conveyancing fees and fees to lenders. On the other hand, you might not be able to recover the tribunal fees.

      Comment


        #4
        If they refuse to pay for legitimate major works, for which you have done the proper section 20 consultations, you should sue them in the small claims court. If they try and come up with the defence you suggest, the case will be redirected to the FTT, which should, under the circumstances, reject the defence, and make them pay the tribunal fees.

        Comment


          #5
          In my experience most disputes between leaseholders can be resolved over a cup of tea or a beer. Maybe as a newby, he feels left out of the loop when decisions are made. Even a minority can have a good idea which is worth considering. It is sometimes worth gritting your teeth and meeting someone you do not particularly like.

          Yes you can flex your muscles and go to court or the FTT. The problem is that leaseholders become more entrenched and it just creates more disputes for the future. It is also time consuming and some decisions will go against you, which will create other problems.

          So I suggest that you try to discover and understand what is the issue with this leaseholder.


          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by eagle2 View Post
            In my experience most disputes between leaseholders can be resolved over a cup of tea or a beer. Maybe as a newby, he feels left out of the loop when decisions are made.
            Just underlining this. We have a managing agent and one of the reasons I'm so unhappy with them isn't so much to do with the management quality itself so much as being left out of decisions and communications. It's a terrible feeling when your home doesn't feel like a place you have any input into when change is happening.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by eagle2 View Post
              In my experience most disputes between leaseholders can be resolved over a cup of tea or a beer. Maybe as a newby, he feels left out of the loop when decisions are made. Even a minority can have a good idea which is worth considering. It is sometimes worth gritting your teeth and meeting someone you do not particularly like.
              I think that may work in a basically owner occupied situation, but when most leaseholders are absentee landlords, it can be difficult to get them physically together.

              Comment


                #8
                It is not too difficult to pick up the telephone or send email messages to make leaseholders feel involved. Far too often, MA's (and directors of RMC's) do not make an effort and they fail to see the benefit of the goodwill which it would create.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post

                  I think that may work in a basically owner occupied situation, but when most leaseholders are absentee landlords, it can be difficult to get them physically together.
                  That's true. What we do is use a WhatsApp group - it's not perfect, but almost everyone has it on their phones, you can mute it if you're not interested, and it has a chatty, informal quality, which can really help in forming a consensus. Then when you ratify that consensus face to face, at least everyone has a view on what's likely to be discussed, and they're able to make the effort to come to face to face meetings if they feel strongly.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You can also use a webinar as well and that allows ballots to be held. Distance can be overcome if an effort is made.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As mentioned above..this looks all wrong..LHs only have to comply with the lease, very rarely do they allow the costs of upgrades to be recovered..only maintenance as a service charge..its irrelevant whether all the other LHs want the upgrade to go ahead.
                      Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                      I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                      It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                      Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                      Comment

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