Defending alleged breaches of covenant

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    Defending alleged breaches of covenant

    Small, mixed use building, inexperienced/broke FH. Frustrated LHs as no maintenance has taken place for years. FH's daughter now involved and things are getting messy/expensive very quickly!

    Solicitor's letters received just before Xmas - FH is alleging various breaches of covenants by both LHs. LHs don't agree with any of these, and letters riddled with errors.
    LHs have worked through lease and documents extensively, pulling out relevant parts.
    Have consulted solicitor and got quote for helping bat them back in the right way - £1500 between both properties, and we don't really seem to gain much as no progress sorting out building, just money spent on legal fees defending nonsense allegations.

    So, if we chose to respond ourselves, how much detail is needed to 'prove' points? For example, first one is that LHs have breached covenant by not clearing/repairing gutters, FH saying gutters/downpipes 'exclusively serve' each apartment, therefore for LH to maintain. However, gutters do not exclusively serve each apartment - they take water from communal roof for benefit of all in building etc so should be FH's responsibility to maintain via service charge.

    If we say this, and FH disagrees, where do we go from there? Is it for the FH to 'prove' his case?

    Basically, we have to work out what to spend money on, and what we handle ourselves, and also trying to avoid getting the bill for FH legal fees regarding the alleged breaches. Thankfully LH are working together and sharing costs, but still not a good situation...

    You are a leaseholder in the mixed use building and obviously wanting the maintenance work done for your building. The freeholder is not willing to provide the maintenance and you are asking what can be done ?.

    The national average payment for annual service charge is about £1800 per flat and you could be paying this amount every year if you were living in another block of flats. You have been quoted £1500 for legal advice but you think it may not be be well spent money.

    So you and the other leaseholder should consider arranging the maintenance work and paying the suppliers direct and sharing the costs. You can place this work direct with local supplier for replacing plastic gutters and downpipes, and for periodic external painting. Its better not to waste your time and effort on arguing with freeholder.

    Also keep a record of the work and payments . Keep the receipts for up to 6 years.


      Please don’t open many threads regarding the same subject. If I remember rightly, there is a restaurant below the 2 apartments. The lease should define the extent of your liability. If you cannot agree, it is better to suggest mediation or arbitration in order to avoid legal costs. If it goes to court, the freeholder would have to prove his/her claim and that would normally be by reference to the lease.


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