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  • FIRST POST
    • MMDXL
    • By MMDXL 23rd Jan 16, 3:21 PM
    • 4Posts
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    MMDXL
    Freeholder fun
    • #1
    • 23rd Jan 16, 3:21 PM
    Freeholder fun 23rd Jan 16 at 3:21 PM
    Hi,

    I am in the process of selling my leasehold flat in London. My freeholder wanted a few hundred quid to fill in an LPE1, which I have paid but also wants me to pay them £175 for their property to manager to come out and "inspect" the property to determine there have been no unauthorised alterations or breaches of the lease.

    I haven't done any alterations, nor breached the lease. However the freeholder did not inspect the flat before I moved in and they say if there have been any unauthorised alterations, even before I bought the flat, I will be held responsible because my solicitor should have done due diligence in establishing whether any work had been done. I bought the flat more than 13 years ago - I really can't remember what information I got at the time.

    This whole thing is absurd - all the lease shows is the outline of the property - there is no internal floor plan so even if alterations had been done (apart from buildings in the garden or an extension, of which there are none), how would they be able to tell?

    The freeholder is refusing to fill in the LPE1 until I cough up for the inspection (even though I have already paid them for the LPE1). I am minded to pay up just to get things moving but I am worried that the inspection is just a fishing expedition in which they magically find a breach of the lease and ask for yet more cash in compensation.

    Am I being paranoid??

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by MMDXL; 23-01-2016 at 3:26 PM. Reason: Wanted to add more
Page 1
    • bobobski
    • By bobobski 23rd Jan 16, 6:29 PM
    • 643 Posts
    • 1,472 Thanks
    bobobski
    • #2
    • 23rd Jan 16, 6:29 PM
    • #2
    • 23rd Jan 16, 6:29 PM
    A solicitor is not a surveyor and would not be able to tell you if any alterations (authorised or otherwise) had been carried out. That's up to the landlord, who evidently didn't care at the time you moved in.

    As to whether you'd be liable to reinstate any unauthorised alterations, that depends on what the lease says about reinstatement. I would expect that you are liable to fix a previous tenant's breach.

    I suggest letting them do the inspection and if they magically find something then ask them to prove it wasn't there when the flat was new. Sounds like they have no evidence of its condition at any point in time.

    As to payment of the £175 - again, what does your lease say? Any management regulations you're obliged to comply with? Seems very odd to require this when you're not legally obliged to pay it. But I'm just speculating.
    #18: Save 12k in 2017: £7,620.13 / £12,000 (63.5%) | #86: Save £12k in 2016: £8,476.09 / £10,000 (84.76%)
    House deposit by 31/12/2020: £18,139.42 / £60,000 (30.2%) | Emergency fund by 31/12/2020: £1,223.13 / £5,000 (24.4%)
    • SmlSave
    • By SmlSave 23rd Jan 16, 7:16 PM
    • 4,693 Posts
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    SmlSave
    • #3
    • 23rd Jan 16, 7:16 PM
    • #3
    • 23rd Jan 16, 7:16 PM
    If you wish to sell your place then I'm afraid you have no choice but to pay the (thieving) freeholder and do everything they say
    Boy Smllet born 23/06/2011 and Girl Smllet born 01/03/2014

    5 year challenge to pay off £20,000
    £350 per month challenge
    • MMDXL
    • By MMDXL 23rd Jan 16, 7:33 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    MMDXL
    • #4
    • 23rd Jan 16, 7:33 PM
    Thanks
    • #4
    • 23rd Jan 16, 7:33 PM
    ...for your replies.

    The lease says nothing about reinstatement. It just states that the lessee is not to make any alteration or addition to the "height, front, back, sides, roof, walls and timbers" of the demised property. And no building shall be erected over the garden. That's it.

    I certainly haven't done so and as far as I can tell, nobody before me has knocked down or moved any walls.

    The lease says the landlord can inspect the property with reasonable notice and at a reasonable time but says nothing about me paying for the privilege. I think they're just trying to make money as they have said they won't complete the LPE1 until I cough up for the inspection.
    Feel like I'm being extorted but I just want to get the sale moving. My solicitor says I could take them to tribunal as the fee is unfair but that takes time and ££ so they have me over the old barrel.
    It's odd as they'd always been quite reasonable before.
    Last edited by MMDXL; 23-01-2016 at 7:35 PM. Reason: Addition
    • bobobski
    • By bobobski 23rd Jan 16, 8:41 PM
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    bobobski
    • #5
    • 23rd Jan 16, 8:41 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd Jan 16, 8:41 PM
    Have you tried saying something along the lines of "you're welcome to come and inspect the premises and I'll be glad to pay your fee for doing so if you can show me where my obligation to pay such fee comes from"?

    Sounds like the landlord is being an expletive but has absolutely no grounds to ask you for the fee or to claim that unauthorised alterations have taken place. If the landlord has been reasonable in the past, I would suggest starting off nicely and not going straight to the tribunal route - that's just going to get their back up and you don't yet know that it's absolutely necessary. Asking them for evidence that they are entitled to claim the fee may quickly make them realise that they cannot (in an ideal world anyway).
    #18: Save 12k in 2017: £7,620.13 / £12,000 (63.5%) | #86: Save £12k in 2016: £8,476.09 / £10,000 (84.76%)
    House deposit by 31/12/2020: £18,139.42 / £60,000 (30.2%) | Emergency fund by 31/12/2020: £1,223.13 / £5,000 (24.4%)
    • Nike79
    • By Nike79 23rd Jan 16, 8:57 PM
    • 58 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Nike79
    • #6
    • 23rd Jan 16, 8:57 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd Jan 16, 8:57 PM
    the chargers for inspection do sound unreasonable, i have never came across this. alterations are not normally allowed without the freeholders consent but demanding cash for inspecting the property for unauthorised alterations sounds like a big bull@£$t to me.

    speak to your conveyancer first and see whats their advise.

    I wold also prepare the letter and threaten to dispute the chargers

    but of course it all depends on your personal circumstances. if you are time constrained and need to sell asap you may be better off this fee
    • MMDXL
    • By MMDXL 23rd Jan 16, 10:20 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    MMDXL
    • #7
    • 23rd Jan 16, 10:20 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd Jan 16, 10:20 PM
    Thanks all. My solicitor has disputed the fee but they are refusing to budge. They've played their joker by refusing to complete the LPE1 until the flat is inspected, claiming they can't answer the questions properly without an inspection.

    I've said, fine, come and look but I'm not paying you to do so but if I don't play ball they have said the matter is in "abeyance" until I pay. They claim the fee is to cover their property manager's time.

    I really am outraged but in the interests of getting on with the sale and never having to have anything to do with them again, I think I will have to let them get away with it.

    It seems clear to me that they know it's totally unjustified - but they have the power to block my sale unless I play ball so they could not care less.

    I feel quite bullied.

    It is supposed to be a respectable investment company too. Disgraceful, really.
    • bobobski
    • By bobobski 24th Jan 16, 11:27 AM
    • 643 Posts
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    bobobski
    • #8
    • 24th Jan 16, 11:27 AM
    • #8
    • 24th Jan 16, 11:27 AM
    It does sound pretty disgraceful. Legally they have no right to demand this payment (although leases may refer to paying reasonable costs of the landlord's surveyor etc - is there a costs section in your lease?) but they are taking advantage of your desire to sell.

    I think I'd do the same if I were you - pay them to shut them up and never have to deal with them again. Perhaps discuss with your solicitor, but I'd be tempted to write them an email at the same time as making the payment, confirming that you are sending it but stating that for the avoidance of all doubt you do not believe they have any right to claim it and you're only paying to move on with your sale. You could also say in that email that you have not made any alterations to the property and, although you cannot speak for your predecessor in title, you have no reason to believe they did either, and if their property manager believes otherwise he will have to give you proof.

    Good luck with it - this is really horrible of them but unfortunately the world sucks sometimes
    #18: Save 12k in 2017: £7,620.13 / £12,000 (63.5%) | #86: Save £12k in 2016: £8,476.09 / £10,000 (84.76%)
    House deposit by 31/12/2020: £18,139.42 / £60,000 (30.2%) | Emergency fund by 31/12/2020: £1,223.13 / £5,000 (24.4%)
    • G_M
    • By G_M 24th Jan 16, 11:57 AM
    • 40,534 Posts
    • 46,370 Thanks
    G_M
    • #9
    • 24th Jan 16, 11:57 AM
    • #9
    • 24th Jan 16, 11:57 AM
    Explore with your conveyancer the possibility of paying, and then reclaiming the fee once you have the LPE1?

    I don't know if this could be done (fee not justified by the lease; fee and 'unreasonable term'?), nor whether you'd have to state the fee was being paid under protest or suchlike.
    • MMDXL
    • By MMDXL 1st Feb 16, 10:38 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    MMDXL
    Thanks guys for your replies.
    • silkz
    • By silkz 14th Mar 17, 11:18 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    silkz
    Very keen to know how you got on with paying the fee & challenging the management company to know how you got on in the end as Im in the same boat now
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