maintenance fee issue

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  • maintenance fee issue

    Hi everyone..

    My tenants live nextdoor to me and there is a large communal garden for all the houses around the vicinity. I wasn't aware of how the upkeep worked myself.. I moved in in November last year and my tenants moved in in January. Around March time I got a note through the door from another neighbour who deals with the gardening asking for a cheque/cash.. and it is reasonable as they maintain the garden all year round.. All the residents pay the same amount.. I received an email last week regarding my tenants not paying their fee back in March (fee was for this year).. He was asking if I could intervene.. In fairness, I never mentioned to them a gardening maintenance fee, I didn't know about it myself. What would you suggest?

  • #2
    1. Who owns the gardens?
    2. Do you have rights to use them? If so, how?
    3. Do you have obligations to pay for them? If so, how?
    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
    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).


    • #3
      All properties going around the block have a backdoor to the garden. I am pretty sure it is owned by Duchy of Cornwall.

      As we all have a backdoor straight into the garden, yes, all are allowed to use it as a communal area.

      Do we have obligations to pay for them? I'm not sure though there are garden meetings where people decide things regarding the garden such as what will be grown in it etc (not sure who buys all the stuff such as seeds, plants, tools.. possibly part of the gardener fee). No one challenges the garden maintenance fees as they seem very reasonable for the continuous upkeep.


      • #4
        You could ask HRH The Prince of Wales. (Sorry, couldn't resist it!)
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


        • #5
          I think that if you did not tell your tenants before they signed the contract that they would be liable for the garden fee, you cannot now start asking them to pay it. You can only do that if/when you renew their contact or possibly when it becomes periodic - perhaps one of the lawyers could advise on how to do that?

          The fact that you did not know about it yourself does not excuse it, really. Presumably there is something somewhere in your lease which explains it.
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


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