Is the roof demised, and is it my job (financial responsibility) to fix it?

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    Is the roof demised, and is it my job (financial responsibility) to fix it?

    Hi Guys, totally my first post. Been reading all sorts on here, so finally dipping in...

    Any help/insight GREATLY appreciated. I'm being told by the managing agent that I am personally responsible for roof repairs. Is this normal for a 12 flat block, for only top floor flats to be individually responsible for roof maintenance and repairs? It’s arranged 4 flats over three floors including Ground (4 flats on top floor).

    Over the last few years the service charge was raised (my solicitors back in 2016):
    1. The management company have advised “At the time of writing the property manager confirms reserve fund has been increased in order to facilitate future roof replacement

    I recently contacted them (management company) to ask when the roof would be repaired, and I was told that they realised they're not responsible for the roof. So they scrapped the repair.

    This is the demise section of the lease:
    ...hereby demise unto the Lessee ALL THAT the Flat (hereinafter called "the Flat") numbered 12 and being on the top floor of the building (including one half / in depth of the joists between the floors of the Flat and the ceilings of the same level and the roof of the said building so far as the same constitutes the roof of the Flat) the situation whereof is shown on the plan annexed hereto and therein coloured red.

    I’d really appreciate it if you're able to assist me in any way.
    Also, if it turns out that the roof is mine so to speak, do I need too work with the other top floor flat owners to get any work done?

    Main problem comes from the fact that for ages they've been using the roof as the excuse for such a high service charge, and now all of a sudden, "yeah, it's actually not our problem...but teh service charge stays where it is..."


    Thanks,
    Kinamod


    #2
    Originally posted by kinamod View Post
    This is the demise section of the lease:
    ...hereby demise unto the Lessee ALL THAT the Flat (hereinafter called "the Flat") numbered 12 and being on the top floor of the building (including one half / in depth of the joists between the floors of the Flat and the ceilings of the same level and the roof of the said building so far as the same constitutes the roof of the Flat) the situation whereof is shown on the plan annexed hereto and therein coloured red.
    This clause is a little bit ambiguous, as it could potentially be read as "one half, in depth, of the joists between the floors of the flat and the ceilings of the same level. And the roof of the said building so far as the same constitutes the roof of the flat." (which would demise the roof to you), OR it could be read as only half of the depth of the ceiling/roof above your flat being demised to you (which is what I suspect may have been intended).


    This clause will need to be read in conjunction with clauses elsewhere in the lease that detail what is excluded from the demise, and what the repair obligations of the leaseholder and freeholder are.

    It would be unusual for the roof not to be included as part of the main structure of the building, coming under the freeholders obligations to repair (especially when four different flats 'share' the roof and could all want to employ their own contractor for their section), but it is possible for that to be the case.

    Comment


      #3
      The lessee in the top flat sometimes takes on responsibility if he is building a mansard. Is that possible here?

      Comment


        #4
        Another bit of the document talking about what leaseholders need to contribute to... This is so confusing lol.

        Comment


          #5
          The extract in post 4 is a strong indication that the landlord repairs the roof. We need to see the landlord's repairing covenant, please.

          Comment


            #6
            The roof would usually be considered to be a part of the "main structure", but the schedule that describes what the landlord is responsible for repairing will be important (it could contain wording that specifically exclude the roof from the parts of the main structure that the landlord has responsibility for).

            If you can post the wording from that schedule, Lawcruncher might give you a definitive answer.

            Comment


              #7
              Hi Everyone, SO appreciated. I'm so tangled up in this, It's just over my head at the moment. Your help sor far is super welcome. Thanks so much.

              It's difficult because it's a bad scan so its kind of hard to read. I could post the whole thing up though if that helps, but I think I've found the section you need? I think the management company are saying they're not responsible because roof gutters is explicitly included, but not roof maybe?

              The attached starts with: THE Lessors hereby covenant with the lessee as follows:-

              Comment


                #8
                Sorry, that is to small for me to read.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I would say you are responsible for thr roof repairs looking at the paperwork. Yes

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yes sorry that was painfully small, I've put it through an OCR engine Thank you so much all of you, you're being a massive help, even though I'm being a horrible help requester...?

                    THE Lessors hereby covenant with the Lessee as follows: -—
                    (a) That the Lessee paying the rent hereby reserved and
                    performing and observing the several covenants conditions and
                    agreements herein contained and on the Lessee’s part to be
                    performed and observed shall and may peaceably and quietly
                    hold and enjoy the demised premises during the said term with-
                    out any lawful interruption or disturbance from or by the
                    Lessors or any person or persons rightfully claiming under or in
                    trust for them.

                    (b) That the Lessors will require every person to whom
                    they shall hereafter transfer or grant a lease of any flat com-

                    prised in ________ Court to covenant to observe
                    the restrictions set forth in the First Schedule hereto,

                    (c) That (subject to contribution and payment as herein-
                    before provided) the Lessors will maintain repair redecorate and
                    renew (i) the wain structure and in particular the roof gutters

                    and rainwater pipes of ____________ Court (ii) the
                    water pipes drains and electric cables and wires in under and
                    upon ___________Court and enjoyed or used by

                    the Lessee in common with the owners and lessees of the other

                    flats (iii) the main entrances passages landings and staircases of

                    _______ court enjoyed or used by the Lessee

                    in common as aforesaid and (iv) the boundary walls and fences
                    of Se out.

                    (d) That (subject as aforesaid) the Lessors will so far as

                    practicable keep the forecourt garden way and other parts of

                    , _____Court shown on the plan annexed

                    hereto and thereon hatched red edged ----..——-—------. brown

                    and hatched brown in good condition and (as to the garden)

                    cultivation,

                    (e) That (subject as aforesaid) the Lessors will so often as
                    reasonably required decorate the exterior of the building in such
                    manner as shall be agreed by a majority of the owners or lessees
                    of the flats comprised in ________ Court or failing agreement in the manner in which the same was
                    previously decorated or as near thereto as circumstances permit
                    and in particular will paint the exterior parts of the building
                    usually painted with two coats at least of good paint at least
                    once in every three years.

                    (i) That (if so required by the Lessee) they will enforce the
                    covenants similar to those contained in Clause 4 hereof entered
                    into or to be entered into by the transferees or lessees of the other
                    flats comprised in __________Court on the
                    Lessee indemnifying the Lessors against all costs and expenses
                    in respect of such enforcement and providing such security in
                    respect of costs and expenses as the Lessors may reasonably
                    require.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by kinamod View Post
                      Yes sorry that was painfully small, I've put it through an OCR engine Thank you so much all of you, you're being a massive help, even though I'm being a horrible help requester...?

                      THE Lessors hereby covenant with the Lessee as follows: -—
                      [...] the Lessors will maintain repair redecorate and
                      renew (i) the main structure and in particular the roof [...]
                      That is about as clear as you can get without repetition. I do not see how it can possibly be argued that the landlord is not responsible for reparing the roof.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes absolutely no doubt. You have to read it as intended, and it was common not to punctuate in legal docs to avoid ambiguity. Actually a comma in this case would have removed any doubt. The roof is the lessors responsibility. A solicitor letter might be helpful advising them to take 'legal advice as they are mistaken in their interpretation'.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Okay so we don't think they mean "roof-gutters", but that it is indeed "Roof, gutters, and rainwater pipes"

                          Thanks so MUCH Cheers guys!!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by kinamod View Post
                            Okay so we don't think they mean "roof-gutters", but that it is indeed "Roof, gutters, and rainwater pipes"
                            The clause initially refers to "Main structure". Neither 'roof-gutters' or rainwater pipes would be considered part of the 'main structure' of a building, but it would be reasonable to refer to 'gutters' and 'rainwater pipes' after referring to the roof (which is typically included as part of the main structure of a residential building).

                            This means that the most reasonable interpretation of the wording is that it refers to "Main structure, particularly the roof, and then mentions gutters and rainwater pipes because they are connected to the roof and may be repaired/replaced at the same time as the roof.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              A roof is considered part of the structure of a building.

                              In any event the text has to be read as "and in particular the roof, gutters and rainwater pipes". Any argument that it should be read as "and in particular the roof-gutters and rainwater pipes" is going to fail on the basis that property documents are construed against the grantor.

                              Comment

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