Getting roof repairs done without freeholder consent

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    Getting roof repairs done without freeholder consent

    We own long leases on the only 2 flats above a take-away; the freeholder owns the take-away lease but doesn’t operate the business.
    as the freeholder rarely replies to any maintenance requests we have in the past had small external jobs done at our own expense, but the leaking roof is more major.
    we paid for scaffolding to be erected, then the freeholder said he would get 2 quotes by yesterday - nothing happens, so we instruct our roofer today to commence work, sending the info to the freeholder, and he has just emailed our roofer forbidding it! In the recent heavy rain, water has been pouring into our top flat so the work is urgent. Our plan was to get the work done with proper guarantees etc, paying our trusted roofer ourselves, then argue the toss with the freeholder later.
    Does the freeholder have any real rights in forbidding the work going ahead? We are trying not to go to litigation.

    What does the lease say about responsibility for repairs and who ends up paying for them?
    Presumably the freeholder is responsible for maintaining the roof and they can claim the full costs of this back from the leaseholders?

    Although you should follow the proper process and ensure that the freeholder has sufficient time to arrange the work themselves, in the circumstance that you describe I doubt that there is any action that they could take if you arranged, and paid for, the work yourself.

    There might be a problem with getting any share of the cost that the takeaway is supposed to pay refunded, especially if their share would be above the £250 limit that should trigger section 20 consultation.

    How long ago was the freeholder notified that the roof needed repairs? Or is the roof of an age where the freeholder should have been expecting to replace it?
    If the freeholder has been unreasonable in not acting quickly enough to arrange repairs, it is possible that you would have a valid claim against them if any internal damage is caused by the leaks.


      I would do a temporary seal, and then put in an emergency application to the FTT

      a) To do the work and to dispense with S20 requirements in the absence of any response and given the urgency

      Also send notice to the freeholder under the procedure for appointment of a manager (follow that procedure and form of notice strictly)

      b) If no adequate response, 30 days later put in a second FTT to appoint a manager

      I would strongly urge against starting to do more work yourself.


        Thanks for your prompt and helpful responses.
        the freeholder has started to take an interest in the property (but it is still hard to discuss anything) so I don’t think we’ll be able to get a manager appointed. Water is still dripping in to our flat and our primary concern to to get the work done swiftly and efficiently; if need be we will foot the whole bill as we want to avoid litigation and officially getting into dispute with the freeholder - our best option might be to sell as soon as possible with decent roof guarantees and no “disputes”


          Originally posted by Katelydstep View Post
          If need be we will foot the whole bill as we want to avoid litigation and officially getting into dispute with the freeholder - our best option might be to sell as soon as possible with decent roof guarantees and no “disputes”
          The problem with this idea is that it depends on whether or not the freeholder accepts your repairs.

          The building belongs to the freeholder and leaseholders shouldn't be making any alterations, or doing anything to parts that their lease doesn't give them responsibility for.
          If a freeholder isn't maintaining the building, and leaseholders are suffering damage to their property as a result, it is unlikely that a court/tribunal will penalise a leaseholder who takes action and organises repairs themselves - but the freeholder would potentially be able to take the freeholder to court. I would expect you to be able to win any challenge of this sort (as long as any work that was carried out could be shown to have been necessary, was a like-for-like repair, and was carried out to an appropriate standard) but it wouldn't necessarily avoid a dispute with the freeholder.

          If the freeholder has specifically told you that you can't get the work done, it is very unlikely that they will accept you going ahead and getting it done anyway.
          What I should have said in my earlier post is that it is unlikely that the freeholder would be able to successfully take any action against you - and, as I said, that assumes that they have been given sufficient time to arrange repairs themselves.


            If what you do at your cost is simply a like for like repair and you don't change anything by taking the liberty to (improve) or damage anything whilst you effect the repair I cannot really see where the freeholder could take you to court??

            I would be tempted to effect the necessary repairs and sell which seems to be your plan.


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