Flat's freehold reversioner concocts service charges

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    Flat's freehold reversioner concocts service charges

    I have owned a leasehold apartment and adopted a terrible freeholder with it! The external roof repairs after a leaking roof were done using a shoddy (or non existant) roofer. I was charged for a poor or no repair. The leak never sorted. Complained to freeholder who never did anything about the leak. Lost my tenants (local authority were clients)as a result and property damaged. I arranged a local councillor to mediate with the freeholder and it was agreed that I would arrange roof to be repaired. It took a total of 15 months to sort and eventually I redecorated the whole apartment at a cost of £10K. I have a file full of correspondence including insurance claims which I lodged with the freeholder but the claims were never processed claiming that I had never sent in quotes. One more claim of leaking washing machine too was never processed resulting into fitting a new kitchen as the floor had to be exposed. This new kitchen cost was part of the £10K referred to above.

    The property was put on the market as I could no longer afford it to be empty a buyer found. Now almost at a point of exchange. My solicitors letter seeking clearance was replied to after some 4 weeks with a list of charges: All letters read that I wrote were charged at £10, All replies sent to me £20, the meeting with the councillor for landlords breach of duties is charged out at £160, The roofing works that I commissioned which the freeholder agreed to done by a reputable local roofing company ..landlord has billed £260 for "inspection" of works. The total bill came to around £1350! Readers please note that the freeholder has never appointed a Management Company and has managed his properties himself.

    I have instructed my lawyer to pay this under protest and reserve the right to have these unfair concocted charges determined by the LVT. My lawyers response was that he was uncertain if these charges and other issues such as the Building Insurance Claim and lost rent can be claimed or the right reserved to claim this following completion. Would the fraternity of this forum kindly help ! I thought it best to sell the lease, reserve the right to have these charges assessed by the LVT to settle the matter. Is this possible after I complete the sale please? Your response will be most appreciated.

    #2
    Due to the fact that your freeholder's (in)action has resulted in financial loss to you, it would appear that you have cause to start legal action against the freeholder.

    With regard to administrative charges, you will have to read the lease to determine whether such charges can be recovered by the freeholder.

    Is your solicitor guiding you at all with regard to taking the freeholder to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? What are you paying them for?

    Either way, you need a solicitor to resolve the situation because it sounds complicated.

    Comment


      #3
      Poppy P . Thank you.

      Poppy P,

      Many thanks for taking the time to read my post and for your contribution. In reply to your post:-

      I am aware that I have a case but as you will probably appreciate, the litigation costs are at the best of times too high to pursue. In addition, most people would rather get rid of their property than to start legal proceedings as issues with freeholder put most people off buying a leasehold property where disputes have arisen with the freeholder.

      As for reading the lease, you are absolutely correct.

      As for the solicitor's guidance, my solicitor is currently involved in selling the property and that for now has to take precedence as I need to move on!

      The advice I need currently is as follows:-

      (1) Once the sale is completed, and provided that I have reserved the right to take up these matters further via either litigation or negotiation through a legal representative, DO I HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO :-

      (A) Pursue my Buildings Insurance claims (2 of )
      (B) Pursue my rental income lost for 12-15 months as a direct result of
      the freeholder not repairing the loss due to malice.
      (C) Recover any service charges paid which should not have been
      charged in the first place (assuming that the lease clauses support
      this claim.

      My solicitor is of the view that perhaps (he seems uncertain at this stage and has indicated that he will look into it) as I cease to be a "tenant", I forfeit my rights to pursue any such claims against the freeholder.

      Comments from all will be welcome with particular emphasis on the "legal eagles". My thanks to all in advance.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by rafikgaffar View Post
        Poppy P,

        Many thanks for taking the time to read my post and for your contribution. In reply to your post:-

        I am aware that I have a case but as you will probably appreciate, the litigation costs are at the best of times too high to pursue. In addition, most people would rather get rid of their property than to start legal proceedings as issues with freeholder put most people off buying a leasehold property where disputes have arisen with the freeholder.

        As for reading the lease, you are absolutely correct.

        As for the solicitor's guidance, my solicitor is currently involved in selling the property and that for now has to take precedence as I need to move on!

        The advice I need currently is as follows:-

        (1) Once the sale is completed, and provided that I have reserved the right to take up these matters further via either litigation or negotiation through a legal representative, DO I HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO :-

        (A) Pursue my Buildings Insurance claims (2 of )
        (B) Pursue my rental income lost for 12-15 months as a direct result of
        the freeholder not repairing the loss due to malice.
        (C) Recover any service charges paid which should not have been
        charged in the first place (assuming that the lease clauses support
        this claim.

        My solicitor is of the view that perhaps (he seems uncertain at this stage and has indicated that he will look into it) as I cease to be a "tenant", I forfeit my rights to pursue any such claims against the freeholder.

        Comments from all will be welcome with particular emphasis on the "legal eagles". My thanks to all in advance.
        You could arrange for leasehold purchaser to assign back to you all rights against f/r on grounds of his apparent breaches of lease.

        As to admin. fees, you also have protection of s.158 of Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 which introduces schedule 11 to Act. Money wrongly demanded by f/r could be subject of proceedings by you.
        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
          Thank You Jeffrey

          Many thanks Jeffrey. Your advice & references will no doubt be valuable.

          I have some research to report upon. I have been on the LEASE website after calling advisors on LEASE. I was told that it is possible to seek redress from the LVT even if the lessee/lessor legal relationship ceases to exist. The two cases setting precedent are Sarum Properties Ltd where it was established that such cases could be brought up and Bales V Conduit Investment (which cited principle based in Sarum Investments). I have not had the opportunity to read these in detail but will do so in the next day or so.

          Thank you to all.

          Comment

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