Freeholder refusing to co-operate with the RTM and with leaseholder's sales

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    Freeholder refusing to co-operate with the RTM and with leaseholder's sales

    Hello

    I'm a long time lurker and have tried to read through all the relevant threads, but apologies if this is going over old ground.

    I bought a flat in 2005, in a small converted block. Pretty soon we had issues with the freeholder doing very little to keep the property in shape, and some of the flats began to have disputes with him - so a few years ago we formed an RTM. We have a solid budget in place, are transparent with spending, and have been successfully building a sinking fund for larger works.

    The freeholder retains ownership of one of the flats which he rents out. Since the RTM was formed, he has paid a small amount every month towards the service charge - but it's well below what everyone else is paying and he is building up arrears.

    A couple of flats are trying to sell, and although he is perfectly polite in the phone - he ignores all letters and emails regarding the sales (such as requests for statements of ground rent) - and this has cost a number of flats their sales - as he's obviously being uncooperative so buyers run a mile.

    In an effort to try and move forward, I have had several calls and email conversations to try and create a better relationship with him, show him our budgets in detail and and negotiate his share of the monthly service charge; I have had the same result - he basically appears cooperative - and then goes silent.

    He appears to be wasting our time, and is also costing us money. It feels personal, although he claims he's glad to have the maintenance off his mind. It's bizarre.

    To be honest, I am getting quite anxious about it all, as his behaviour is odd, and is making the flats unsaleable, so I wondered where we would stand on legal action - one buyer has now lost 2 sales at a cost of about £6,000 to him.

    I was really hoping we could move forward without litigation but sadly I think it may be unavoidable.

    Thanks in advance!



    #2
    Why don't you consider purchasing the freehold interest? If the freeholder has no involvement in the management, he may be willing to sell or you may qualify under the enfranchisement rules.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks - I’ll look into that! I did ask him if he was interested in that and he said he didn’t want to - but if we have a right to I’ll get advice on it! 😊

      Comment


        #4
        If any leaseholder is persistent in staying in arrears of service charge payment, the RTM should use the "small claims court" to claims the arrears + court fee.

        Comment


          #5
          Your idea of avoiding legal action is very wise, the small claims court could refer the case to the FTT and before you know it, you could have a full scale enquiry into 6 years service charges. The simplest solution is to purchase the freehold and you can then deduct what is owing from the purchase price,

          Comment


            #6

            Obtaining the freehold is probably your best way forward.

            Have a look at lease-advice.org if you haven't already done so. Look at 'collective enfranchisement'.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks all. We have had such a range of issues with leasehold, I would avoid it at all costs in future. I just feels like an area of poor legislation, open to complete abuse. Never again! :-)

              Comment


                #8
                Unfortunately leases are open to abuse and some people exploit them at every opportunity. The legislation does not work, the main offenders are well known to the courts and tribunals and MPs turn a blind eye.

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