How Do I Challenge an Unreasonable Registration Fee (Not an Administration Charge)?

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    #31
    Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
    I hesitate to defend the freeholder, but there can be more involved than just receipting the notice and returning it.
    But that is what the fee is expressed to be for - or to be exact for registering the notice.

    All the rest is part and parcel of the administration involved in managing property.

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      #32
      Originally posted by flyingfreehold View Post
      I hesitate to defend the freeholder,
      I'm all for defending freeholders when they are being unfairly maligned, but that does not apply in this case. The leaseholder run Management Company insures and manages the estate. I advise them of any sub-tenants, but the lease does not entitle them to receive a fee for this, so they do not attempt to charge one. The freeholder already has my correspondence address so they can send me invoices for ground rent. They would not be involved in any emergency situation. In fact, I doubt whether they could find the premises on a map.

      All the freeholder requires to register my notice is a pen, a book and someone to write a couple of names and dates therein. In practice, they are unlikely to ever need to refer to that entry once it has been made. As has been pointed out by tribunal chairmen, freeholders try to charge for everything that they might conceivably do, even though they are only entitled to charge for what they actually do (if the lease allows it).

      As Lawcruncher points out, the fee here is for registering the notice. If they wanted to add other charges, they should have put them in the lease. After all, it is freeholders who draw up leases, not leaseholders. I'm afraid my sympathy is limited on this one!

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        #33
        UPDATE & FURTHER QUESTIONS
        Having paid £24 for registration of my subletting notice in May, I have received a total of eight letters on this subject from the freeholder and replied promptly to all of them. The freeholder is consistent in wanting a further £96, but the letters are otherwise full of nonsense and show no evidence of them having read or understood either my replies or the lease – they ask for information that the F/H has already acknowledged receipt of or does not need and (helpfully to me) list all sorts of things other than registering a notice that the F/H might do in order to justify their fee, none of which are relevant in my case – I only need to pay a reasonable fee for registering a notice.

        F/H’s seventh letter added a purported fee to my “account”, “as no satisfactory response has been received”, and their most recent letter was a letter before action, with a further purported fee. Naturally I replied explaining, again, the error of their ways and asking for confirmation that I owe them nothing and for an apology for their harassment of me.

        All the above is fine with me, I would rather reply to stupid letters than send money to a shyster just to make them go away. I would encourage anyone in a similar position to do the same. I realise that their imaginary fees are currently sitting on my imaginary account. It is now almost three months since the letter before action, so presumably their solicitors have also told them they are on a loser. I have now started to chase the F/H for confirmation that I owe them nothing and for an apology, and will continue to do so. I look forward to putting the correspondence in front of a judge one day if they do not respond positively.

        My questions relates to the ground rent payment that will become due soon. I understand that I need to make it abundantly clear that any money I send is not to be used for any of their fees, but should I try to take it a step further - should I send my cheque, “in full and final settlement of any and all monies currently owing in relation to the property”? If they cash the cheque, is that concrete proof that they accept that no fees are owed? If they do not cash the cheque, does that weaken my position because the ground rent has not been paid? Thanks for reading, any thoughts welcome!

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          #34
          I think if you do that, they just won't cash the cheque. They'll keep doing that until the ground rent goes over £350, and then try to forfeit the lease.
          To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

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            #35
            It is best to keep ground rent separate from other matters. When you send your cheque make sure you write "ground rent" on the reverse and state the period the ground rent pertains to; and include a covering letter. Obtain the cheque back from your bank once it has cleared.

            When you paid the £24 did you state it was in full and final settlement of the registration fee; and did the landlord accept the payment?

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              #36
              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
              I think if you do that, they just won't cash the cheque. They'll keep doing that until the ground rent goes over £350, and then try to forfeit the lease.
              Yes, it's them not cashing the cheque that worries me slightly.

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                #37
                Originally posted by Joe Forit View Post

                Yes, it's them not cashing the cheque that worries me slightly.
                Haven't you got their bank details ? You just pay it in with "ground rent" as reference and email confirmation.
                job done

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                  #38
                  Originally posted by vmart View Post
                  It is best to keep ground rent separate from other matters. When you send your cheque make sure you write "ground rent" on the reverse and state the period the ground rent pertains to; and include a covering letter. Obtain the cheque back from your bank once it has cleared.

                  When you paid the £24 did you state it was in full and final settlement of the registration fee; and did the landlord accept the payment?
                  Thanks vmart. No, I didn't pay the £24 in full and final settlement. I think eagle2 suggested that as an option earlier in this thread, but I decided against. I'm fairly happy with that decision - it means I am 100% confident that the lease has been complied with in relation to the subletting, because the F/H has had a reasonable fee, even though he does not like it. I am tending to agree with the advice to keep the ground rent separate.

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Originally posted by Section20z View Post

                    Haven't you got their bank details ? You just pay it in with "ground rent" as reference and email confirmation.
                    job done
                    I usually do pay the ground rent by bank transfer. I was thinking a suitably endorsed cheque and covering letter would give them less wriggle room for suggesting the payment was for something else, though I suppose the 'ground rent' payment reference should do the trick. I would probably have to write to them anyway - I do not want these clowns to start communicating with me via email, they might send ten daft letters every day!

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                      #40
                      I don't think that you need worry that your payment will not be accepted, these types of freeholders do not normally tune away money. It is more likely that they will apply the payment against the disputed charges and claim that any remaining balance relates to ground rent. I suggest that you make it crystal clear that you are paying ground rent and retain proof because it is unlikely to end there.

                      Is there any chance of forming a RTM Company or purchasing the freehold?

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                        #41
                        Unreasonable freeholders are killing this business for the reasonable operators. sighs......

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                          #42
                          [QUOTE=eagle2;n1178241]I don't think that you need worry that your payment will not be accepted, these types of freeholders do not normally tune away money. It is more likely that they will apply the payment against the disputed charges and claim that any remaining balance relates to ground rent. I suggest that you make it crystal clear that you are paying ground rent and retain proof because it is unlikely to end there.

                          Is there any chance of forming a RTM Company or purchasing the freehold?

                          Oddly enough, the same people did not cash a "full and final settlement" cheque that I sent them a few years ago (different circumstances, not involving ground rent). We eventually managed to resolve that issue, cheque then cashed and everyone happy, though it took a while.

                          Currently around 98 years left on a 125 year lease with leaseholder owned Management Company, so freeholder does not have enough involvement to create urgency to remove him. Perhaps in ten years time, by which time politicians may have made it a bit easier / cheaper for us to do.

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                            #43
                            Originally posted by L4NDLORD View Post
                            Unreasonable freeholders are killing this business for the reasonable operators. sighs......
                            Amen to that.

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