Flat roof or roof terrace not demised

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    #16
    He sounds like a nightmare neighbour!… however I believe managing agents are generally accustomed to dealing with people like this.
    I don't see how the lease gives him any say regarding the strengthening of the roof or what materials are used—what did your solicitor say about this?

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      #17
      It looks like you need to send a strongly worded letter to the neighbour warning him that he is in breach of the terms of the lease and stating that unless he complies with the terms, you will instruct your solicitor.
      I do not see how a managing agent is going to assist you, apart from sending the letter on your behalf. If that is the objective, you could ask your solicitor to send the letter for you. An agent will not normally be interested in managing 2 apartments.
      I have no doubt that someone would be willing to purchase the freehold interest but I do not recommend that you sell it, the freeholder would look to recover his costs at the expense of you and the other leaseholder.

      Comment


        #18
        The solicitor said that he has no right to interfere with the builders as the flat roof is not demised to him. That probably won't stop him trying. The main issue at the moment is getting him to remove all the items on the roof terrace to let the builders start work. He has agreed to the work going ahead so I am keeping my fingers crossed on that now.
        With regards to the management company, I agree it's not an ideal solution but it might be an option for the future if problems keep arising and collection of his share of major maintenance costs becomes very difficult.
        We were also advised by the solicitor to get a structural survey done. What are the advantages of getting one done and would it help us in any way? I presume we would find out how much weight the flat roof can take but I'm not sure how it will help the situation.


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          #19
          I suggest that the strongly worded letter includes a requirement that the neighbour removes the heavy items from the roof.

          The survey will be necessary if there has been damage to the roof and you intend to claim the cost of repairing it from your neighbour.

          If the neighbour is disregarding the lease, the appointment of a managing agent is unlikely to assist you. Your problem is a legal matter rather than a management issue.

          Your neighbour should be made aware that he must comply with the lease otherwise you will take legal action against him. If you do not wish to send the letter, I suggest that you ask your solicitor to send it.

          Comment


            #20
            Hello again. I thought I would give another update on my flat roof saga. We have managed to get to the position of having the work done. Despite everything we have told the neighbour he still harbours hopes of putting decking on the fibre glass surface when it is finished. In fact it is probably only this belief that made him remove all the junk from the roof for the work to go ahead. We have made it clear to the builders that we only want the new surface so they know the score. However my neighbour has been frequently asking the builder about the feasibility of decking on the surface. He would like it to be part of this job but of course we are not prepared to do this. Today is the last day of the work and apart from the finishing touches the work is finished and hopefully we will be leak free going forward. My sole concern now is that the neighbour tries to have decking put on the surface behind our back. It would probably be possible even without access to the garden. In your opinions what is my best way to stop this from happening? Is an injunction a possibility?

            Comment


              #21
              It is probably to early to think about an injunction. Better to get your solicitor to write a letter warning that an injunction will be applied for without notice if he starts to put down any decking or otherwise does anything not permitted.

              Comment


                #22
                It would also probably be worth pointing out that, if the upstairs leaseholder does try and put decking on the roof you will expect them to bear all costs of repairing any damage that is caused (as well as removing the decking).

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by Macromia View Post
                  It would also probably be worth pointing out that, if the upstairs leaseholder does try and put decking on the roof you will expect them to bear all costs of repairing any damage that is caused (as well as removing the decking).
                  You have to be careful how you word that so as not to give the impression that it is fine to lay down the decking so long as it does not cause damage.

                  It is always a good policy not to elaborate unnecessarily in case you unwittingly give a hostage to fortune. Also, the less you say the more likely you are to get your point across. My advice would be to keep it simple and just say that the lease only permits use for flower boxes which do not overload the roof and emphasise that that does not extend to putting down decking.

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Thanks 'Lawcruncher'.
                    That does make sense.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      I am not sure how wise it is to post photographs particularly as, I assume, the second photo is showing possessions belonging to the leaseholder. Pictures also identify you by default AND your discussions in this forum which the leaseholder might come across. Anyway, just a thought.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Yes, your probably right so they're gone. However I still want to thank everyone for their advice on the Landlordzone Forum as it has been invaluable and helped us through a difficult situation. With the new roof fitted at least we can get on with our lives and redecorate the kitchen diner where it has been damaged by all the leaks.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Hello again,
                          I would like a little more advise with regards to my situation if possible.
                          As I told everyone in my last post, the flat roof is repaired and we seem to have stopped the neighbour from putting decking down by informing him by letter that we had been to a solicitor and that we had contacted the council regarding planning permission. He has put some protective matting down, probably to make the fibreglass surface more child friendly (rather than to protect the surface) and he is beginning to store junk on the roof again. There are often now children running and jumping on the roof which is incredibly noisy in our kitchen and is not how the roof should be used either. Obviously we are happy that the leaks have stopped but are worried about future misuse. The lease allows for only minimal use (light flowerboxes only). We have paid over £3000 for the repair of the roof and have given him a year to pay us his share as he originally said that he had no money to pay his half of the roof repair immediately. When we sent them the letter he said that he would like to get up to date with the building insurance for which he is six months behind. So we sent him our bank details so that he could pay off the arrears, set up a regular payment for the insurance and set up a direct debit to pay for their share of the roof repair. However a lot of time has passed and he has not done anything and have not even communicated how and when he is going to pay us back. At the same time as claiming that he wanted to get up to date with the building insurance he asked for our permission to put laminate flooring in the upstairs flat and wanted us to put it in writing. Exhausted from the roof terrace saga, we agreed but stated that it was on the condition that sufficient underlay was put under the laminate so that noise was kept to a minimum. As it turns out they have installed laminate floorboards which they didn't specify and the underlay is obviously not sufficient because the noise has increased greatly. We feel that we have been misled and are also angry that he seems to have the money to pay for new flooring but not to pay his share of the roof repair.
                          I have a few questions that I need to ask the forum.
                          1) Is it worth us getting a solicitor to write a letter to spell out the consequences of further breaches of lease.

                          2) We own both the freehold for the whole building and the leasehold for the groundfloor flat. At present the garden is only on the freehold and not on either lease. It is my suspicion that the neighbour has designs on the garden should we ever move and if he were to gain a share of freehold (although there is currently no access from the upper flat to the garden). Would it be worth our while to add the garden to the groundfloor flat lease so that any future owners do not have this problem to deal with and also to make it more desirable to purchase?

                          3) With regards the flat roof. Currently The Land Registry Electronic Official Copy for my neighbours Lease make no mention of the flat roof but The Land Registry Electronic Official Copy of the Freehold has a note stating: 'The Lease grants right of User of flatroof of lower flat'. The actual lease for the upstairs flat states that he has 'the right to use the flat roof over the lower flat for flower boxes but not to overload the same'. Should I get the Land Registry Electronic Copy of the Freehold changed to more accurately reflect the restrictions of the use of the flat roof.

                          Thanks in advance for any advice
                          Regards

                          Comment


                            #28
                            You face a difficult situation. That said, it is up to you to step up to your obligations as freeholder and manage the building. Alternatively, find a managing agent (from your earlier posts this was something you were contemplating – by putting in effort you will find an agent to manage a building with just two units).

                            Further, I suggest you consult a solicitor specialising in leasehold to write* to the leaseholder regarding use of the roof; & shore up arrangements concerning the agreement (I use this term loosely as the agreement appears nebulous) re service charge arrears; and be prepared to take legal action in the event of default on both counts.

                            With regard to laminate flooring you created a rod for your own back but at least a solicitor may be able to advise how you take this forward.

                            Did you issue service charge demands in accordance with legislation? If not, you need to rectify this a.s.a.p.

                            Other comments:
                            Where the leaseholder requests consent I suggest, in future, you write to them outlining the information required for you to consider their application. For example, with laminate flooring (academic now) you would want to know the specifications and perhaps even receive samples of the underlay/flooring; you might also require details of the contractor; you may require the payment of reasonable administration charges to process their application and cover your costs should you need to consult e.g. a surveyor and/or solicitor. Depending upon the nature of the work there might need to be a deed to protect both leaseholder and freeholder should either change hands.

                            Your application process could also make clear applications for consent will not be considered where there are alleged/breaches of lease outstanding. This would encompass issues such as the roof and service-charge arrears.

                            I do understand how easy it is to feel worn down. After all, just two units (one yours) difficult to envisage the challenges, stress and time involved.


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