Evasive Landlord in Shared Building - Obligations and Responsibilities

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    Evasive Landlord in Shared Building - Obligations and Responsibilities

    Hi All,

    New to posting on forums and being Landlord... found this site thanks to Google and hoping for some help/advise.

    I am a landlord of 3 years, to a ground floor flat in a Victorian building in London. We lived in the flat for 5 years previously and kept it as a long term investment. We use a letting agent (Mann) to rent the property. The middle floor flat is rented out privately. The top floor is owned by an elderly lady who is sick and rarely there.


    We have just received a number of complaints from our tenants about the middle floor tenants. Our tenants have tried to talk to them on two occasions (excessive noise, possible over crowding, smoking in communal areas, rubbish\cigarettes left outside) but are now contacting us directly with these issues. They are all valid issues and I want to address and resolve them.

    However... the middle flat landlord is extremely evasive. We only have a single phone number that he rarely answers. No home address, no email address, nothing. On the rare occasion we get through to him, he refuses to acknowledge anything such as financially contributing to repairs or maintenance. The annual building insurance takes about 6 months for him to send a cheque for his payment.

    I have just written a draft letter, outlining these issues, but more importantly offering to manage the property as this is currently non existent. I will arrange a central shared bank account, proactively organising maintenance and repairs. I have all the time and effort to do this but I need some input (financially and communications) from the other landlords/owners which is where this will fall down.

    My issue is that they will not respond or even acknowledge the letter, especially the middle floor landlord. Where do I stand in terms of legally chasing the landlords, their obligations to contribute or where to go next? In my draft letter I have given them 21 working days to respond for what its worth.

    I've Google'd and read a lot (like you do when you get an illness) and everyone has a different answer such as mediators, solicitors, local council reporting, evictions. So I'm just looking for any advise, sensible steps to peacefully resolve the issues or anyone who has experience something similar.

    Much appreciated in advance


    Dan

    #2
    You probably need to contact the freeholder. How is the freehold set up? Normally the leaseholder’s rights and responsibilities against the freeholder are stated in the lease, so you should start with that document.

    Comment


      #3
      There seems to be 2 issues that I can gather:

      1. The noise and over crowding - you can't do anything about this, and would suggest you don't get involved with this between your T and the neighbour.

      2. Repairs and maintenance - who owns the freehold, I will assume you all own an equal share? who pay's the insurance when it is due if this leaseholder is 6 months late? Have you formed a management company for dealing with these? Would suggest you legalise the situation if it's not been done or not written in the leases. Or get a management company to run the freehold, and arranges collection of service charges and rubbish collections etc.

      Comment


        #4
        First of all, you don't have any obligation to help your tenants (other than because you want to or feel you should).
        You're no longer a resident and are therefore not actually suffering any problems directly.

        So, you don't really have any standing with the owner of the middle flat, and any action you want them to take is going to cost them money and time (and effort and stress).

        Who's the freeholder?
        It does sound like they're not fulfilling their own role at present.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ash72 View Post
          There seems to be 2 issues that I can gather:

          1. The noise and over crowding - you can't do anything about this, and would suggest you don't get involved with this between your T and the neighbour.

          ...............
          Disagree: One's duty as a citizen is surely to warn the appropriate authorities about this. Overcrowding on a property can (quite correctly in my view) result in fines & criminal offence for landlord/owner. So worth informing local council housing dept.

          See...
          https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal...o_overcrowding
          - i.e. "interesting" way of applying pressure on the other landlord. Trouble is with Tories cutting funding to councils by some 60% over past 10 years the poor councils have huge problems doing their jobs.. See..

          https://www.ft.com/content/f89022a2-...4-e7016697f225

          NB Also be aware the building may now be an s257 HMO -
          https://www.tmbc.gov.uk/__data/asset...n-257-HMOs.pdf
          - which will have an impact on OP & freeholder
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you for all your quick replies, all very helpful.


            Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
            You probably need to contact the freeholder. How is the freehold set up? Normally the leaseholder’s rights and responsibilities against the freeholder are stated in the lease, so you should start with that document.
            We all have equal share of freehold for the property



            Originally posted by ash72 View Post
            There seems to be 2 issues that I can gather:

            1. The noise and over crowding - you can't do anything about this, and would suggest you don't get involved with this between your T and the neighbour.

            2. Repairs and maintenance - who owns the freehold, I will assume you all own an equal share? who pay's the insurance when it is due if this leaseholder is 6 months late? Have you formed a management company for dealing with these? Would suggest you legalise the situation if it's not been done or not written in the leases. Or get a management company to run the freehold, and arranges collection of service charges and rubbish collections etc.
            That's a cleaner way of presenting the issues.

            1 - This is almost what out letting agent said and that they need to report it to the local council.

            2 - I pay the insurance shortfall and constantly chase him until he pays.

            We have no form of management company or agreements between us. This is what I would like to do myself or I would let a management company take cake of it if it works out better. I am just unsure on their willingness or legal right to contribute a monthly maintenance fees. Even if they could recoup this in there rental.




            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            First of all, you don't have any obligation to help your tenants (other than because you want to or feel you should).
            You're no longer a resident and are therefore not actually suffering any problems directly.

            So, you don't really have any standing with the owner of the middle flat, and any action you want them to take is going to cost them money and time (and effort and stress).

            Who's the freeholder?
            It does sound like they're not fulfilling their own role at present.
            That's good to know. I'd like to help as much as I can from a landlord perspective, but I wasn't sure how far the responsibity goes as I cannot control the tenents above.

            Nope, no real standing with the middle floor owner unfortunally. I want some standing with him as it will make running the property easier, but I fear the worse case sceniro will be some form of legal meaning costs, time and stress.

            Comment


              #7
              You haven’t answered my key question - what rights and obligations do your (and the other flats’) lease put on you and the freeholder, respectively? That gives you the answer to your question whether there is “a legal [responsibility] to contribute to maintenance”.

              Comment


                #8
                Its in different parts of the lease where the lessor ( freeholder or management company) covenants to maintain the building and the lessee ( Leaseholder ) covenants to pay the ground rent and contribution to service charge.

                Comment

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