Contradictory Lease and unreasonable Freeholder

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    #16
    Both the flat upstairs plus the one we purchased had rented out without permission.
    I have since found out that the flat downstairs has lost 2 buyers due to not being able to let out the properties, all the whole flats were being let out.

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      #17
      Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
      I have both in writing and verbally correspondence from my solicitor as we told him we wanted to rent the property and the freeholder had come out and shouted it couldn’t be let, hence this was paramount that we could. So I am hoping that we have a case as we are now stuck with a property we cannot rent and will have to sell , we have many losses.
      If you have this confirmed in writing, it is definitely likely to be worth, at the very least, writing to the solicitors stating that you believe that they have been negligent and that you will expect to be compensated for all losses (although exactly how you should go about this may require legal advice!).

      Verbal correspondence isn't worth much unless you have it recorded, or the other party later admits to having said what you claim they said. It is relatively easy for them to argue that they actually said something different.


      Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
      With regards then to the exterior work having been left for so long, I believe they have breached the lease and to charge just our flat also £7,000 for 3 windows and a front door plus a bit of guttering is unreasonable.There must be help for owners to stop this from happening. There are many other things they have done and seem to do as they please.
      It is quite likely that the freeholder has breached the lease by failing to fulfil their repair obligations.
      It is also quite likely that the cost is excessive.

      Unfortunately there are two important considerations that will be relevant:
      1. Before completing the purchase you should have been aware of the disrepair, and the fact that you would be required to contribute to/pay the cost of the repairs, and the amount that you offered for the flat should have reflected this.
      2. The law, as it stands, pretty much allows freeholders to charge well above what people would be prepared to pay if they wanted similar work done on a freehold house, and arranged the work themselves. Freeholders are not obliged to keep costs to a minimum, the only requirement is that costs are deemed 'reasonable' - which means that they can get away with charging relatively high prices by insisting on things like specific qualifications for the contractors and adherence with high health and safety standards.

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        #18
        Many thanks, we were made aware of the work but the figure given was lower than the one now being given, the freeholder is a builder and therefore wants the work himself, if you don’t agree the costs are reasonable where would you go to?

        To make things worse the freeholders have dumped 2 boats and 2 trailers in our communal garden!

        How freeholders can get away with all this is beyond me. I will continue the path of negligence and 2 solicitors at the practise have said they believe it could be rented out. With regards to claiming losses would that mean rent loss, council tax, their fees, the cost to change the lease and my time over the last months?

        i need to put this all to bed and really appreciate all the help.

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
          Many thanks, we were made aware of the work but the figure given was lower than the one now being given, the freeholder is a builder and therefore wants the work himself, if you don’t agree the costs are reasonable where would you go to?
          That might depend on what the lease says about the responsibility for arranging, and paying for, the work.
          It seems likely that the lease will state that the freeholder has the responsibility for arranging the work, and the leaseholders then pay a share towards the cost of the work. If this is the case, repairs to _all_ windows in the block that require it should be arranged at the same time, with each leaseholder paying a share that is determined based on what share the lease allows, not based on how much work each flat requires.
          If the costs are 'service charges' and are considered unreasonable, any individual leaseholder can challenge the costs at a tribunal (or all leaseholders can get together to challenge them).
          Costs can be challenged for a whole variety of reasons, including that the specifications that the freeholder insists on are unreasonably high, that the costs are higher than the typical commercial rates for similar work, or that the costs are higher than they should have been because the freeholder has previously neglected their obligations (e.g. wooden window frames only need replacing because the freeholder has not kept them properly painted, and the cost of replacement is higher than the costs of maintenance and repair would have been).


          Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
          To make things worse the freeholders have dumped 2 boats and 2 trailers in our communal garden!

          How freeholders can get away with all this is beyond me. I will continue the path of negligence and 2 solicitors at the practise have said they believe it could be rented out. With regards to claiming losses would that mean rent loss, council tax, their fees, the cost to change the lease and my time over the last months?

          i need to put this all to bed and really appreciate all the help.
          Freeholders can get away with far more than they should be able to because the law allow it, and because, where protections do exist, the cost of taking action to get the freeholders to meet their obligations can be relatively high, leaseholders often don't know their rights, and it can take a lot of effort to get them enforced.
          On top of that, if leaseholders try and enforce their rights, vindictive freeholders can then hold this against them when the leaseholder needs to request permissions, etc., in the future - and disputes need to be declared when a property is sold.

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            #20
            Is it reasonable for a freeholder to now demand £5,500 plus legal fees to amend the lease to allow rental?

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              #21
              Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
              Is it reasonable for a freeholder to now demand £5,500 plus legal fees to amend the lease to allow rental?
              I think it will add that much value to the price when you sell, so maybe, yes, it is reasonable. (I realise it sucks at the moment, but look at the long term.)

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                #22
                Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
                Is it reasonable for a freeholder to now demand £5,500 plus legal fees to amend the lease to allow rental?
                In your position, I'd be inclined to look into whether you have a good claim for negligence against the solicitors you originally used before worrying about whether or not any offer the freeholder makes to alter the lease is reasonable.

                If it really had been made clear to the solicitor that you were buying the property for the purpose of renting it out, and they told you that the lease would allow this, you may have a very good chance of expecting them to cover all reasonable losses that you incur.
                This would include either the cost of altering the lease to enable you to sublet, or any losses you end up with if you have to sell the property instead (+ potentially compensation for your time in dealing with the issues).

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                  #23
                  Thank you I am in the process of this but the solicitor is taking no responsibility and has said just go ahead and let it out! They have offered to speak to the freeholders solicitor if I say they haven’t been negligent.

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by Ferndale View Post
                    Thank you I am in the process of this but the solicitor is taking no responsibility and has said just go ahead and let it out! They have offered to speak to the freeholders solicitor if I say they haven’t been negligent.
                    Beyond belief your solicitor still advises you to let it out when the lease clearly says otherwise. Is your solicitor registered with The Law Society? You can actually sue your solicitor, using a No Win No Fee solicitor which I would do and move on to a better one. The very least your current solicitor should do is pay the freeholder's demand of £5,500 plus legal fees.

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                      #25
                      Hi Truthledger, I am in the process of dealing with them and need to find a good solicitor to help with no win no fee.

                      The other issue I also have is, the freeholder has always known that the flat we bought was rented out Previous to us buying it, as is the flat above us and not to family members and were breaching the lease. They turned a blind eye to this for many years! It is only now the father has passed away that the son has said he’ll change the leases for us if we pay £5,500 each plus legal costs! On my management pack from the managing agents, it asks if there has been any breach of the lease at our flat and they has answered NO! I have challenged the managing agents and they said they made the freeholder aware the tenants were not family So they both knew yet they have lied on the management pack about this, the flats have been rented via estate agents for many years and they have done nothing until now. Surely this is a legal document and they can’t both lie?

                      I am in so much debt and this has been going on since January!

                      please can some help?

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                        #26
                        Better if the leaseholders banded together and buy the freehold title. Then change the lease terms and take over the window replacement.

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                          #27
                          I have no fight left in me, I’m just going to sell and next door tried to buy the freehold and lost, the same freeholder, do you know if I have any grounds on my previous message regarding the letting out and lieing?

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                            #28
                            I am still no further with this situation, the solicitor has now agreed to refund their fees and talk to the freeholders solicitors only if they took us to court for letting it out, which we haven’t, I cannot find a no win no fee solicitor to take it on, can anyone advise me of one please ?

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                              #29
                              There is the legal ombudsman.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Hi Jon,

                                I have done this but it’s taking forever, we will have to sell and see what they come back with.

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