Roof repairs

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    Roof repairs

    Perhaps you can help,

    I live in a 2 bed flat. The freeholder lives above me.
    The freeholder of my flat has contacted me asking me to meet half the costs of repair work that is needed, specifically:
    fully repointing the front of the house, patch repointing the back of the house, repairing roof elevations, repainting soffits and fascias

    My lease states the following:
    (ii) to pay one-half share of the due expenses incurred by the Lessee owner or occupier of the other flat in the Mansion in respect of maintaining, repairing, redecorating and renewing the paths, foundations, roof and any gutters, rainwater pipes, drains, gas pipes, electric cables and wires in, under or upon the Mansion and enhoyed or used by the Lessee in common with the owners and lessees of the other flat in the Mansion
    (c) To maintain, uphold and keep the Flat and all walls, party walls, sewers, drains, pipes, cables, wires and appurtenances therto belonging in good and tenantable repair and condition.
    (d) once in the year 1999 and in every third year of the said term thereafter and during the last year therof to paint and decorate the exterior of the Flat in a clolour and manner agreed with the owners for the time being of the other flat compirsed in the Mansion or (failing such agreement) in the colour and manner in which the same is now or was last previously decorated.

    My understanding of the above, is that i should only pay half the costs of the roof elevation repairs (which is currently leaking). I do not hold that the fascias or soffits consitute part of the roof, and that section (d) only refers to the exterior of my flat, which does not extend to the soffits or fascias below the roof. The pointing would fall under wall repair - which the lease states I should keep in "good tenantable repair and condition" - I do not believe that should fall under the tenantable condition, but to be honest, i don't really understand what this constitutes.

    Can anyone please help me make sense of this. This has come at a really difficult financial period and I will struggle to meet half the costs of what the FH is currently asking, so I want to be sure that I do really need to pay it all.



    You are asking us the hardest question ! interperate your lease, IMO your view is correct but ultimately if you disagree only a court or FTT can judicate on such issues.

    So who did you believe is responsible for the soffits and fascias ?.

    Ultimately it appears that you would be liable for half the costs whether the repairs fall under ii) or c) or d) (although in c) and d) it would appear you only have to maintain YOUR flat and do HALF the work (although this might not actually be practical).

    The lease is a bit strangely worded, for example in d) it actually reads that you are responsible for painting your half and the FH for his half..but clearly you both have to agree on a colour.
    Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

    I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

    It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

    Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.


      Unfortunately you umped from (ii) to (c) omitting what precedes a b and then C.

      If I assume as Andy has, that c is preceded by the tenant shall.......then that falls to you and it is a simple matter of pointing that out to the freeholder.

      Similarly there is an argument that you would not pay for the full cost of scaffold as their is additional costs in term of scaffold hire duration and to create a working area for him to repoint his walls, nor some of the contractors overheads and profit.

      That said there may be some financial advantage in having this done if your walls need repointing.

      As to the roof then it is matter of interpretation and the actual layout. For example if the freeholder maintains the gutters, as in this case, then if in order for there to be gutters there needs to be a fascia, then it is likely a cost to be shared. Similarly if the roof is designed to need a fascia or to enclose it properly, then it is, arguably, part of the roof.

      There are otherwise two approaches the contra proferentem rule of "if you( a landlord) didn't put it in the lease, its your problem" and there might be an argument on that here. On the other hand there is the intention of the parties as to what else the lease sais and from what I have seen the fascias and soffits are not part of his demise as a leaseholder.

      So, it therefore remains to decide whether then it is recoverable as service charge and frankly I think the contra proferentem argument is a strong one but, if they can argue that it is part of the roof, as explained above, it is then a service charge item.

      The simplest way to decide is to either as an arbitrator to decide or ask the tribunal to do so.
      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.


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