Unexpected leasehold forfeiture letter

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    Unexpected leasehold forfeiture letter


    We had an unexpected leasehold forfeiture notice (section 146) from a solicitor this morning as our ground rent is arrears on our buy-to-let property. We never received any request for ground rent and the summary of our purchase of the property from our solicitors says the lease is collected by our property management company - Firstport.

    We have called up Firstport who have said its nothing to do with them and passed on to a different company that have stated its accurate, they've been sending notices to the rented property and that we must pay it. If the letters were sent there they were never forwarded to us. The fees are £350 but the admin fees now cost an additional £700.

    It was purchased as a buy-to-let so should the solicitors have informed them of a different billing address? Given the solicitors said it was paid via Firstport, who have our billing address, can we lodge some complaint regarding that? Do we have any other options than paying this additional £700?


    Always pay first, then argue. I take it that your lease doesn't compel you to notify the freeholder of lettings? If you'd done that, they'd have the correct address.


      Given you knew that the ground rent fees did need to be paid, had you not thought that they were either very late or were being sent somewhere else ? And then maybe chased where they were.


        £ 1050 just to send a forfeiture ( proposed ) letter. ? ? ?

        Should the solicitors have informed them of a different billing address, YES, as all communications would be to your home address and not the flat. This is one point you must insist on in your Written reply, but call sol's to verify the legal address that was given to the freeholder.
        if it was your home address, then state they did not send info there, so here is the cheque for just the ground rent


          Originally posted by Hudson01 View Post
          Given you knew that the ground rent fees did need to be paid, had you not thought that they were either very late or were being sent somewhere else ? And then maybe chased where they were.
          That was the gist of the county court judgement awarded against me.


            Yes, as lessees we know ground rent is payable so arguably we should ensure it is paid even if it is not demanded. It's always a good idea to ensure the freeholder is aware of a service address and you retain evidence of providing it.

            I suggest you check whether the freeholder had the service address and take it from there. Whatever you do, pay the ground rent and make sure it is clear the payment is for the ground rent and not the administration fees. If they accept the ground rent the s.146 notice will not be valid as they will have waived their right to forfeit. When you write ask for a breakdown of the administration fees and what authority they rely upon for the fees. (The latter part of my last sentence was good advice given by a valued contributor to Landlord Zone i.e. Lawcruncher in another post.)

            Do you make payments of ground rent electronically or by cheque? If former make sure the reference is Ground Rent and state the period/s. If a cheque write on the back of the cheque what the payment is for and which period/s it pertains to. Arrange for the return of the cheque from the bank once it's cleared.


              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
              Always pay first, then argue.
              No! Never! Paying under protest is very risky. You will never get the money back without going to court.

              This is the usual scam. Send the rent demands to the property address and then when it comes to the letter demanding extortionate fees suddenly they know the tenant's actual address.

              What does the lease say about charging fees?

              Check with the conveyancer who acted on the purchase what address was given in the notice of assignment.

              Whatever the position no way can hundreds of pounds of fees be justified for chasing rent.

              At this stage just pay the rent. If they return it let us know.



                Originally posted by boletus View Post
                That was the gist of the county court judgement awarded against me.
                Did you know about the Claim and CCJ prior to the Solicitors letter you received (presumably at your home address)?

                If the Claimant used the property address instead of the (home) address to which the Freeholder and his Agent were clearly instructed to use, you should promptly apply for a Claim to Set Aside.

                That would effectively put it all back to before the Claim was issued - and therefore nullify the Fees. The application fee is £255 which is less than the £1,050 Fees being sought.

                If not done before, once you have the Set Aside, promptly pay the GR so they have no reason to issue a new Claim.


                  I don't think the original poster alluded to a CCJ but nevertheless useful information Deepwater.


                    Originally posted by vmart View Post
                    I don't think the original poster alluded to a CCJ.
                    Apologies. My error. I didn't check and assumed the quote was by the OP.

                    My response was prompted by similar cases with a similar sized MA who failed to implement a notification of change of address, despite having acknowledged the change by email. In time they proceeded to get 2 CCJ's against a Leasee (a relative). The first got immediately paid by the Mortgage Lender following receiving a forfeiture notice. The MA, their Solicitors and the Mortgage Lender had all adding several £K fees. Both my relative and other Leasees in the blocks will be watching the accounts closely to ensure the costs, repaid fees and interest do not get charged back to the Service Charge Account but all sit with the Managing Agents!
                    Excuse for being slightly off-topic.


                      No need to apologize. Your points are nonetheless useful to others and might become relevant to the OP.


                        We've contacted the conveyancing solicitor and they're looking into it for us - they have stated so far that the documents they have say that the property management company are meant to be collecting it, and they absolutely have our address and have done since the first bill. They think the other company should have been collecting it from the property management company, or at the very least would've been able to get an address from them much earlier.

                        We'll ask our solicitor if we can pay the rent while challenging the additional fees.

                        We have 21 days remaining now before it goes to court.

                        Thanks for all the advice!


                          Originally posted by Stotherd View Post
                          We'll ask our solicitor if we can pay the rent while challenging the additional fees.
                          Yes you can.


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