Liability for costs?

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    Liability for costs?

    I live in a block of four flats, 2 ground floor, 2 first floor.
    The other 3 flats share a communal hallway/stairs, we have a private entrance ( a maisonette i believe - why do i feel all Hyacinth Bouquet!)

    Anyway, within my lease i have no covenant giving me any kind of responsibility to pay towards the roof or guttering, ( i live in a ground floor flat) the roof needs replacement soon, but there is a covenant stating:

    ......"the necessity or otherwise of repairing or maintaining any of the aforesaid matters or the proportion attributable to each property owner the the decision of of the lessor or its surveyor shall be conclusive "
    The aforesaid matters refer to a septic tank, electric cables, driveway, and party walls and fences

    Does this override the fact that my lease precludes roof repairs?
    Can a surveyors report take precedence over my lease?

    the reason i mentioned the communal hallway is that i beleive originally, that all leases were generated identical but when ours was sold somebody realised it contained covenants based on a communal entrance and basically cut a section out, in doing so they inadvertantly cut out the repairing covenant - and a few others around pets, washing lines etc.

    What are peoples thoughts?


    Does your lease specifically state you are not to contribute to roof repairs ?
    I assume the roof is also protecting your dwelling.
    I assume you are fair and decent man and want to share the burden equally.


      Who is responsible for contributing to the cost of roof repairs (and any other repairs/maintenance/service costs) will depend on precisely what it says in your lease, and the leases of the other properties in the block.
      There are four main options:
      1. You are required to contribute towards roof repair.
      2. The other leaseholders all share the costs of roof repair.
      3. The roof repair costs are the responsibility of the upper floor flats only.
      4. The lease makes no provision for recovering roof repair costs and the costs are therefore the responsibility of the freeholder (if he is obliged to repair the roof). If this is the case, the freeholder may be able to apply to the FTT to get the lease altered to one of the above three.

      If your lease doesn't specifically exclude you from being responsible for roof repair costs, they might be payable as a result of a more general clause.


        This happened to some of our leases.
        These were all typed on a type writer, every one, so therefore no just changing the names, flat numbers and dates on your word processor.
        Same leases, but when copy typed, some had minor omissions.
        If you have ever copy typed a document that is numbered, it is easy to miss one paragraph, especially if they go

        3 ( 1 ) ( 6 )
        3 ( 1 ) ( 7 ) etc.

        Ours need rectifying, but as it's a freeholder mistake, the Directors wont have the leases changed, as its the directors that have to pay for it.
        If the others find out that your lease entitles you not to contribute to the roof, I think they will insist the lease is changed, and that roof repairs are not done until your lease is changed.

        Normally leases are changed if the lease is defective.
        Your lease is certainly defective, and an application to the F.T.T. by any one of the others, will most likely be agreed your lease must be changed.


          Originally posted by ram View Post
          Your lease is certainly defective, and an application to the F.T.T. by any one of the others, will most likely be agreed your lease must be changed.
          That's not necessarily true.
          Although it might be considered an unusual arrangement, it is possible for there to be a situation where some, or all, of the other leaseholders are responsible for the maintenance of the roof.
          There could, for instance, be a situation where the top floor flat has asked to extend their property into any loft space that existed, and as a condition of granting permission for this all leases were changed and the upper flat assumed full responsibility for the cost of maintenance of the roof.

          Without knowing what all leases say we can't assume that the leases are defective.


            Originally posted by Macromia View Post
            Without knowing what all leases say we can't assume that the leases are defective.
            This is true, but as Harwood says,
            "in doing so they inadvertently cut out the repairing covenant - and a few others
            pets, washing lines etc".

            The etc means many more Standard covenants have been omitted.

            You can bet a typographical error HAS occurred in Harwoods lease, and just his lease.


              That's a fair point!


                Thanks all - some good points there,
                So, if my lease were to be deemed to be defective and amended to include liability for roof etc. would it be fair to ask for compensation from the freeholder?
                One of the attractions to initial purchase was low liabilities on maintenance and the ability to keep a dog in the flat.



                  Do the other leases specify a proportion of the cost of repairing the roof? If the split is discretionary, I don't see how the lease would be ruled defective, or how you could be forced to pay for the roof.

                  Have you looked at other ground floor lease? If it includes paying for the roof, there seems to a strong moral argument that you should be paying, but I can't see it as being enforceable. Similarly if there are explicit percentages and they don't add up to 100%.

                  Note that we can only respond to the extracts from the lease that you have provided, and it is possible that the full lease clarifies the position.


                    Originally posted by Macromia View Post
                    That's not necessarily true.
                    Agree with that. The lease is what the lease is. The original purchaser bought it and paid a price based on what it is, whether that was in error or otherwise.

                    It would be pretty outrageous if it were "corrected" in retrospect without compensation and without agreement. The only logical source of that compensation, since the freeholder would have to cover any shortfall the lease does not enable to be recovered in terms of their obligations, is the freeholder itself (which might be all the flats if they own the freehold).



                      To paraphrase the upstairs flats lease covenant;

                      as and when necessary pay a fair proportion the cost of keeping in good repair__________________________

                      The structure of the building so far as it comprises flat 5,6,7, 8, and in particular but without prejudice to the generality thereof the roof and roof timbers, foundations and external walls.......

                      I should point out at this stage that the occupier of the upstairs flat is not a nice man! He bullied and intimidated his next door neighbour, an 86 year old lady to the extent she has had to summon the police twice, the mgt Company has had to threaten him with legal action to force him to cease motor trading, halt an unauthorised loft conversion, and obtain planning permission for other works which include self installing a live fireplace which leaks smoke into other flats via the roof space.
                      Needless to say i will not be volunteering any funds to the cause of the roof replacement unless i absolutely have too.
                      I beleive the other ground floor flats lease has a similar covenant to the above



                        My comments on #2 were made too soon. Still believe you're O.K !
                        Other posts have been valuable. I understand now where you are coming from and wish you well.


                          If there really is nothing at all in your lease that would require you to pay towards roof repairs, then you don't have to pay.
                          Presuming that your flat is one of "5,6,7 or 8", it does sound like your lease is defective, and that you should be required to pay "a fair proportion" (the same as the other leases).
                          If the freeholder, or any of the other leaseholders, pursued a lease alteration at the FTT they might be successful, but technically the other leases would still allow 100% of costs to be recovered so it might be possible to argue that none of the criteria which allow an application to be made are available.

                          It could also potentially be argued that "a fair proportion" of costs for each of the other three flats doesn't mean splitting the entire amount between them - but that's for them to argue if the freeholder tries to charge them a third each (or any other split that adds up to 100%).

                          If I was you, I'd have someone with appropriate legal experience check your lease to confirm that you aren't obligated to pay anything - and if your lease doesn't require you to pay, don't pay.
                          It's then up to the freeholder...


                            Dear All, I am sorry to gatecrash this thread. I am trying to post regarding pets. Can someone help pls, I can't find where to start a new thread?


                              Originally posted by Appleblossom View Post
                              Dear All, I am sorry to gatecrash this thread. I am trying to post regarding pets. Can someone help pls, I can't find where to start a new thread?
                              She has now found how to make a new thread, so question is resolved ( residential letting )


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