Billed for 11 years backdated ground rent

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    Billed for 11 years backdated ground rent

    So hi, first time I've posted and am just looking for some advice...

    I've got a ground floor maisonette in a house, the freeholder owns upstairs which he has never lived in and rented out straight from purchase. I bought in 2005 and he bought exactly a year later in 2006 which at the time I didn't even know the the original owner who was the freeholder had sold. Anyway 3 years later in 2009 my wife and I was leaving the country to work/travel for a year and my friend was going to live there, prior to leaving I changed to a better mortgage deal, the bank contacted the freeholder and subsequently he invoiced me for 4 years ground rent and 4 years insurance with no paperwork which due to time constraints I just had to pay so the remortgage deal could go through. So in February 2020 some 11 years later the guttering is hanging off the building, it turns out he has moved address and I have no contact details for him! Long story short I finally get a response for one of the may numbers I have been given to text him on, the problem is the response is from a guy claiming to be his brother, which turns out he is. It turns out he was gifted the lease for upstairs in 2018 and tells me the freehold is being put into a companies name and that he will deal with any matters on behalf of his brother. Anyway a month and a half later lockdown due to covid happens and 6 months later the guttering is finally fix just in time for the next problem.... the water company has found a leak on the supply pipe to the maisonettes. He gets two quotes, one I believe is fictitious at £2500 and one hand written by his tenant upstairs who apparently does this type of work. At £1350 knowing the work needs doing agree to the quote by his tenant which states dig down by main stopcock, mole to his front door, insert new supply pipe and tee section, mole up the side of the building and insert new supply in to my kitchen. Over the week I got him to include in works final connection within my premises ensuring water feeding everything in the kitchen, bathroom, boiler was reinstated as prior to works, which he agreed. Day of the works his tenant and friends moled and replaced pipe from main stopcock to their front door, inserted a tee and poke new pipe through into my premises leving it unconnected and the cost of getting a plumber in. Now for half the work he still expects me to pay half of the original quote of £1350? On top of this he issues me with an invoice for 11 years back dated ground rent and an invoice for 8 years worth of half of the house insurances, 3 years he has no paper work for so is kindly not charging me for! Out of the remainder 8 he has 3 insurance certificates and 5 renewal quotes. And to make matters worse at the end of August his tenants caused a water leak and flooded my bathroom out. With my ceiling falling down and water behind the tiles I asked him to notify the insurance company, something he has not done! instead he wants to send his tenant down who caused the leak to refit the ceiling!!

    I'm at my wits end and any advice if you can be bothered to read all this will be gratefully received,

    Thankyou in advance.

    #2
    There are usually notices that have to be served in order to be able to charge for things.
    I'd start there.

    The flooded bathroom is a matter for your insurance, unless you can show negligence (and I'd leave that to your insurer).
    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


      #3
      Hi, Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      It stats in the lease we pay half for guttering, water pipes etc.. which I'm happy to do, my issue is only half of the quoted work was completed yet he wants full money.

      With regards to the insurance the freehold insures the building therefore no separate insurance was needed.

      Comment


        #4
        The law is on your side
        Firstly service charges cant be claimed back more than eighteen months earlier unless the freeholder wrote to you at the time and said that these costs are being incurred. So he can only go back eighteen months for insurance costs incurred. As concerns ground rent, say to him you are more than willing to pay the ground rent but you are entitled to what's called a s166 notice which sets out the amount, the period to which it relates and to whom and their address in England or Wales. So far as the plumbing work I would suggest you say you did not perform the contract fully and there was no agreement to pay part of the sum for part of the job but you are prepared to tender say five hundred quid (or as you see fit)in full and final settlement of the work provided he provides you with a written receipt stating that the sum is accepted on a full and final basis for works for the supply of a new water main up to the first floor flat

        Comment


          #5
          1) generally he cannot charge for more than 6 years backdated
          2) generally he cannot add any interest
          3) he cannot charge you ground rent unless he serves you a specific form & it is quite prescribed
          4) if the work isn't done to contract or of low standard, go to which they have a wonderful example about how to write letters in the case of shoddy workmanship.
          5) service charges are also in prescribed form with name and address of a freeholder & the list of your rights etc

          Comment


            #6
            1 above is not quite correct. Debts due under deed go back twelve years, but no proceedings can be brought for debts owed for more than six years.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
              1 above is not quite correct. Debts due under deed go back twelve years, but no proceedings can be brought for debts owed for more than six years.
              Thanks for clearing that up, I have come across this "6 years" but couldn't seem to find clarity on it.

              Comment


                #8
                Was the first transfer of Freehold correct?

                Should he received notice if the Freehold is being transferred to a limited company?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Flashback1966 View Post
                  Was the first transfer of Freehold correct?

                  Should he received notice if the Freehold is being transferred to a limited company?
                  Normally yes, s5 of the LTA 1987. The resident freeholder may however be a factor

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The 6 years limit for claiming debt comes from the Limitations Act 1980 :

                    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/58

                    Comment

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