Ground rent due if not in Lease- New landlord demanding payment (long leasehold)

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    Ground rent due if not in Lease- New landlord demanding payment (long leasehold)

    Hi There,

    We bought a flat in 2017. The lease is dated May 2017 and was signed in December 2017.
    The landlord sold the freehold in July 2019. The new landlord has sent me two letters, one demanding ground rent and another to recover building insurance from 19th July 2019.
    The lease states that ground rent is £250 and that ground rent, service charges and management fees shall be paid to the landlord. However, there are no clauses defining when ground rent is payable etc

    The question I have is not whether I must pay but rather:

    1) May the new landlord demand ground rent from July 19th 2019? Or should ground rent start on another date?

    2) The previous landlord has not demanded ground rent, may the new landlord recover ground rent since 2017?

    3) With respect to the building insurance, there is one insurance policy for all 3 flats in the freehold. Each property is different in size (45, 65, 80 squared meter). How should the proportion of my share be calculated? Square meter?

    4) If the price should be proportionate to the size, i.e. square meter, should garage and garden sqm be included in the calculation? Flat2 with 45sqm has a garden and Flat1 80 has a garage.

    I have been researching for a while but have not come across those answers. I am very thankful for any guidance you can give us.

    Cheers, Bea




    #2
    HI.

    If the lease started on say 1 May 2017, then presumably the annual period ends 30 April each year. Are you sure the lease makes no mention of when ground rent should be paid? There has to be a clause somewhere that tells you the ground rent amount due and how often/when/by how much or in what way it increases. If it just says £250 for x years, then you would pay £250 for 1 May each year, unless payable in two half year amounts.

    If you'd paid the previous freeholder/landlord for years 2017-18 and 2018-19, no the new freeholder could not ask again for 2018-19. But you say you weren't charged. If the new freeholder is only asking for one year, even if late, you are ahead one year's GR.

    You have to pay what the lease says. Better not to quibble because you are in a glass 'house'. You'd be amazed what correspondence allegedly sent to you at the perfect time could appear if you found yourself up on a charge of breach. You cannot prove a negative.

    As for block insurance, the lease should tell you how service charge costs (including insurances) are apportioned. Even if it seems unfair, that is how you must pay unless you go to tribunal and I don't think you can unless the lease is defective and doesn't add up to 100%. I might be wrong.

    I personally think you are on the wrong track trying to factor in garages etc. Building Insurance premiums don't divide up like that.
    Do not read my offerings, based purely on my research or experience as a lessee, as legal advice. If you need legal advice please see a solicitor.

    Comment


      #3
      The lease will generally stipulate how the service charge is divided up. Yes, they "may" have decided to divide on internal floor area, but to keep things simple, the service charge may be divided by 3 to keep things simple or they may have come up with different percentages (so long as they add up to 100%). You need to refer to your lease.

      You also seem to miss the bigger picture. You want to divide by floor areas. Take an imaginary example. Lets say you only pay 20% service charge and your neighbour with a bigger flat pays 45%. How do you think this will play out when you have major repairs? If you need re-decoration, you may want a high quality carepet, as you only pay 20%, but you neighbour who is paying 45%, will suggest you postpone re-decoration or buy cheaper material.


      They should have notified you, that the lease was to be sold. You should have had an option to buy it.



      Comment


        #4
        Hi MrSoffit,

        Thank you for your reply. I know there should be a clause there saying when ground rent is payable but if there is I can't find it. I have read the lease a few times and can't see it. There is only a clause saying that service charges are due on the date in the landlord's notice...

        If I understand you correctly, you believe the current Landlord could request ground rent from the beginning of the lease? Just want to be prepared in case I receive another letter.

        Thank you as well for your thoughts on the building insurance, I did not think it would make sense to have garage/garden included but wanted to be sure. The lease says it should be a reasonable proportion.


        Hi Flashback1966 ,
        Thank you as well for your insight, that was helpful. Did not receive notice that the freehold was being sold but I guess that doesn't change anything now, does it?

        Comment

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