How to stop vexatious S20s prompted by applying for RTM

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    How to stop vexatious S20s prompted by applying for RTM

    There is a well known, aggressive and unpleasant freeholder who is, and has been causing grief and huge anxiety to hundreds of ordinary, hard working leaseholders. As a result, many have come together to form an RTM. This freeholder, as soon as he is aware of an application to begin the RTM process immediately issues large section 20s in order to milk as much as he can before the RTM is granted.
    I believe there is a way - perhaps through FTT - that the leaseholders can apply for the right to have a large section 20 postponed until the RTM has been granted. Can anyone advise of the correct process to halt these nefarious section 20s whilst RTM is going through? Many thanks.
    The same freeholder, once RTM has been granted, then endeavours to add £60 fee for the collection of ground rent. He makes it extremely difficult for leaseholders to set up a direct debit/bank transfer etc for this as he will not disclose bank details and refuses to accept g/r payment until he has personally requested it. He will then say he has sent out a demand (which he didn't) and charge huge penalties through an equally aggressive collection company who, of course add on their own fees.
    Do leaseholders have a right to know the f/h bank details and set up a regular standing order? Does the freeholder have the right to charge £60 for the g/r collection?
    This is a particularly unpleasant f/h (who has previously been called to Parliament to explain his behaviour - and told at that time to cool his temper). He has caused a lot of suffering to so many who just want to pay their fair way and live a quiet life.

    Re ground rent, l/h's have a right to receive a ground rent demand before payment is due. The demand should tell you how to pay.

    You appear to be talking on behalf of many lessees.

    If the freeholder is not sending out ground rent demands as you claim, write a letter to the freeholder explaining no demands have been received. including the names of all lessees who similarly have not received demands - have all the lessees sign the letter and send it recorded delivery to f/h's registered address.

    All affected lessees should try and act collectively. Easier said than done...Best of luck!


      Contact your local MP to write to the Housing Minister and Law Commission about your freeholder adding £60 to ground rent . Also contact Sebastian at the "leasehold knowledge" website about your freeholder's conduct .


        Very good points but there are more obvious examples of leaseholder abuse especially the persistent overcharging of service charges.


          When we were in this position we suggested the Managing Agents halted the major works and reminded them that any costs incurred as a result of major works initiated AFTER a RTM was instantiated would be subject to challenge at Tribunal.

          As it happened, we had to take it to Tribunal, who agreed with us, but it's a pain to have to do.


            Thanks Benzo - are you saying that asking to postpone a Section 20 while RTM is going through, is something that is sometimes taken to FTT as an acceptable procedure?


              Surely the best option is not to pay any demands in respect of service charges to the freeholder during the RTM process. Similarly if you pay ground rent by cheque and keep a copy and proof of posting, the freeholder will have no grounds for adding on administration charges, which can always be challenged at the FTT.


                Originally posted by michelle230 View Post
                Thanks Benzo - are you saying that asking to postpone a Section 20 while RTM is going through, is something that is sometimes taken to FTT as an acceptable procedure?
                Well the tribunal said that any costs incurred AFTER an RTM in pursuit of a Section 20 (which may not end up happening dependent on when the RTM was complete) were broadly of the managing agents own making, and they could not reasonably expect to recover them. So those costs were disallowed.

                We had to go to Tribunal to get to that point and there's no guarantee the judge would agree with our juge on that point, but it's our experence.


                  So presumably surveyors fees incurred in preparing the section 20 notices and/or preparing specification of works prior to RTM takeover could theoretically be passed on to leaseholders through the service charge.

                  But any costs incurred after RTM takeover date would be disallowed. Did i understand correctly your case?


                    That was the judgement that the tribunal judge came to in our case, as he felt that any subsequent costs were 'self incurred'. Of course, there's no guarantee that the judge would find the same in your case if you have one - I've no idea if a fundamental principle is at play here or it was just how the jduge felt on the day - but it's what happened to us.


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