Electricity Disconnection - Power supplied by Freeholder

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    Electricity Disconnection - Power supplied by Freeholder

    The electricity supply to a 3 storey building has one common electricity meter, with the usage costs paid by the freeholder who also occupies the ground floor. The first and second floors are owned by the same leaseholder (bought in 2007) who agreed to pay 2/3 of the costs of electricity. He sublets these out on standard AST's.

    Very few payments have been made, and the electricity bill owed by the leaseholder is now over £5,000. The building does not have gas, so electricity is used for heating as well.

    Besides wanting to now take legal action, the freeholder also wishes to isolate the other two flats from his electricity supply, meaning there will be no electricity for the tenants above.

    Looking at legislation, it seems to me that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, 11(b) has the only clauses that are relevant where it says there is implied a covenant by the lessor:
    "to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity ..."
    The freeholder intends to serve a seven-day letter on the leaseholder giving notice that the supply will be cut unless the outstanding debt is paid.

    I am of the opinion that the freeholder is within his rights to do this without himself breaching legislation, that he is being fair in giving notice; and that should the supply be cut, the leaseholder is the person liable and who is at risk of proceedings, rather than the freeholder.

    Do you agree?
    On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

    #2
    Originally posted by Esio Trot View Post
    The electricity supply to a 3 storey building has one common electricity meter, with the usage costs paid by the freeholder who also occupies the ground floor. The first and second floors are owned by the same leaseholder (bought in 2007) who agreed to pay 2/3 of the costs of electricity. He sublets these out on standard AST's.

    Very few payments have been made, and the electricity bill owed by the leaseholder is now over £5,000. The building does not have gas, so electricity is used for heating as well.

    Besides wanting to now take legal action, the freeholder also wishes to isolate the other two flats from his electricity supply, meaning there will be no electricity for the tenants above.

    Looking at legislation, it seems to me that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, 11(b) has the only clauses that are relevant where it says there is implied a covenant by the lessor:
    "to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity ..."
    The freeholder intends to serve a seven-day letter on the leaseholder giving notice that the supply will be cut unless the outstanding debt is paid.

    I am of the opinion that the freeholder is within his rights to do this without himself breaching legislation, that he is being fair in giving notice; and that should the supply be cut, the leaseholder is the person liable and who is at risk of proceedings, rather than the freeholder.

    Do you agree?
    What do the leases say in regard to the landlords obligations for supplying electricity? Also the leaseholders obligation regarding payment for electricity?
    Use advice/information provided on a public forum at your own risk. If you wish to act with minimal risk then consult a lawyer.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by leaseholder001 View Post
      What do the leases say in regard to the landlords obligations for supplying electricity?
      Sorry - I thought I had covered every angle above.

      The leases are silent about payment, but have the usual covenants regarding access for repair of structure and services.

      The obligation to pay 2/3rds of the electricity is a verbal agreement. There is nothing in writing though the agreement was made in the presence of a third party.

      The location of the meter box and main fuse is limited in space, hence the splitting of the supply was never done. The previous leaseholder was quite happy with the combined bill and paying her share.
      On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Esio Trot View Post
        Looking at legislation, it seems to me that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, 11(b) has the only clauses that are relevant where it says there is implied a covenant by the lessor:
        "to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity ..."
        I agree; s.11 does not apply to the long lease's term so far as F is concerned.
        See s.13(1) below, esp. the wording that I've underlined:

        13. Leases to which s. 11 applies: general rule.

        (1) Section 11 (repairing obligations) applies to a lease of a dwelling-house granted on or after 24th October 1961 for a term of less than seven years.

        (2) In determining whether a lease is one to which section 11 applies:
        (a) any part of the term which falls before the grant shall be left out of account and the lease shall be treated as a lease for a term commencing with the grant,
        (b) a lease which is determinable at the option of the lessor before the expiration of seven years from the commencement of the term shall be treated as a lease for a term of less than seven years, and
        (c) a lease (other than a lease to which paragraph (b) applies) shall not be treated as a lease for a term of less than seven years if it confers on the lessee an option for renewal for a term which, together with the original term, amounts to seven years or more...


        But the long-leaseholder himself (as L) is bound by s.11; and sub-T might enforce it against him.
        Even then, s.11(1A) might excuse L. It reads:

        11(1A) If a lease to which this section applies is a lease of a dwelling-house which forms part only of a building, then, subject to subsection (1B), the covenant implied by subsection (1) shall have effect as if:
        (a) the reference in paragraph (a) of that subsection to the dwelling-house included a reference to any part of the building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; and
        (b) any reference in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection to an installation in the dwelling-house included a reference to an installation which, directly or indirectly, serves the dwelling-house and which either:
        (i) forms part of any part of a building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; or
        (ii) is owned by the lessor or under his control.

        (1B) Nothing in subsection (1A) shall be construed as requiring the lessor to carry out any works or repairs unless the disrepair (or failure to maintain in working order) is such as to affect the lessee’s enjoyment of the dwelling-house or of any common parts, as defined in section 60(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which the lessee, as such, is entitled to use.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          In the absence to any reference in the lease I take the view that the properties were let ( albeit on a longlease) as is. The FH cannot therefore make an alteration to the flat or withdraw a service without the tenants express agreement(which they can withold). The verbal agreement recognised the arrangement to supply and repay electricity, and should be an implied and/or oral contract, which would be supported by the earlier billing and subsequent payment. The FH was foolish to assume that risk and obligation and not carry out alterations when the initial sale took place, no doubt to avoid the installation cost, or to ensure that the leases had a clause enabling a recharge of costs.

          The landlord has two issues:
          Attempting to recover the arrears on the basis of the agreement relying on in part that it had been honoured in the past.
          Attempting to compensate the leaseholder to seek agreement to carry out the conversion

          I think that the leases and the subsequent agreement has to be examined by the FH's solicitors for accurate advice.
          Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

          Comment


            #6
            Not so straightforward then!

            I will relay this to the FH, for him to decide on the risks of following through his threat.
            On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

            Comment

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