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  • FIRST POST
    • t45
    • By t45 12th Jun 17, 11:45 AM
    • 99Posts
    • 6Thanks
    t45
    Leasehold issues
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 17, 11:45 AM
    Leasehold issues 12th Jun 17 at 11:45 AM
    Hello,
    I was wondering if anyone can offer e some advice on a leasehold issues.
    Basically, I live in a conversions 3 flat – it’s leasehold. One of the flats owns the whole freehold and makes decisions on work that will be carried out each year.
    Every year the freeholder decides upon what jobs are to be done and all flats contrinute – this is fine.
    My issues are:
    Already this year I have spent £450 on jobs (that the freeholder decided would be undertaken).
    The latest job that was carried out in our garden falls below standard in my opinion and I paid towards the cost of this. It was well over £600 in total and i am unhappy with the finished work.
    The next issue is this: the freeholder has now decided that more work needs to be carried out in the garden – I am reluctant to contribute given the state it has now left in. Where do I stand? Can I refuse?
    Next issue: On top of the above, the freeholder has now decided to have paintwork undertaken as well as some exterior porch work.
    I am very unhappy about paying out more sums of money – I am trying to work on my own flat and the freeholder keeps coming back with more work they would like to have carried out - I think I have paid more than enough for the year £450.
    I also pay ground rent on top of this.
    As a leaseholder what are my rights to refuse to contribute towards more jobs? I think there’s been more than enough jobs so far this year and we are only half way through – at this pace, the freeholder would be adding a job a month!
    It is the freeholder who decide which jobs are to be carried out and i am sure if left the freeholder would list up to 10 jobs a year, of course each flat pays towards a contribution.
    Any advice on this.
    Thank you!
Page 1
    • LAC789
    • By LAC789 12th Jun 17, 12:07 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    LAC789
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:07 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:07 PM
    I thought in these situations there was usually an annual service fee payable which contributes to communal areas
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 12th Jun 17, 12:16 PM
    • 5,439 Posts
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    eddddy
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:16 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:16 PM
    It sounds like the freeholder is doing stuff informally. If you're happy with that - that's fine.

    If you're not happy you can insist that they follow a formal process for collecting service charges.
    See: http://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/service-charges-and-other-issues/

    If you want to formalise everything....
    The lease will state what the freeholder must do. The cost of doing those things will be shared amongst leaseholders, as prescribed in the lease.

    So the lease may say that the freeholder must maintain the garden (and re-charge leaseholders).

    But it probably doesn't say that the freeholder can improve the garden, and charge leaseholders.

    If a job is going to cost a leaseholder more than £250, the freeholder has to consult with the leaseholder first.
    All charges must be 'reasonable', and you can challenge them at a tribunal if they are not.
    • t45
    • By t45 12th Jun 17, 12:48 PM
    • 99 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    t45
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:48 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:48 PM
    Many thanks – this is useful
    Yes, you’re absolutely right in saying that jobs are carried out informally. This has pros and cons. Think in this context it’s not working because, all jobs are at the will of the freeholder who decides – and it’s fine to a point but my concern is where does it stop.
    For example, i have paid £450 in total since January on jobs – one of which was just under £250 and I am not happy about the result of the job. The freeholder normally brings in the company/person to carry out the job.
    The recent job that has been carried out is not, in my opinion up to standard and the knock on effect is that it now results in another job to improve the garden.
    On top of this, I have been informed that the freeholder would like to do some paintwork and work on porches. So this would be in effect an additional 3 jobs onto thr tally so far, and who knows by the end of the year, there could be a longer list.
    My questions are: Can i refuse these jobs as I believe

    • I have paid out enough this year on jobs (one of which is below standard in my option
    • The paintwork job and porch are not what i deem essential and i believe these can wait another year
    I pay my ground rent and building insurance yearly and these too is up for renewal next month.

    We DO NOT have a managing agent nor a resident’s association, and as you have correctly pointed out it is informal.

    In the past I have paid well over £400 (a contribution paid by each flat )for a single job but I was unaware of the fact that if a job costs more than 250 the Freeholder should consult with leaseholder. This did not happy then.

    I am not happy with the way things are and perhaps we should consider a more formal process for collecting service charges.

    Would you know the definition of ‘service charge’ as really, in this context, it can mean anything from painting a wall to cutting a hedge or a branch off a tree.

    I don’t mind at all contributing to jobs, I expect that, but what I am seeing is that the list of jobs keep growing and growing.

    So for example, the freeholder might turn up and look at the path and say, mmmm, i think we need to do some work on the path or mmm think we could paint the wall.
    Please could you clarify what you mean by


    “So the lease may say that the freeholder must maintain the garden (and re-charge leaseholders).

    But it probably doesn't say that the freeholder can improve the garden, and charge leaseholders.”


    Is there a difference between ‘maintain’ and ‘improve’ ?

    Thanks so much
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 12th Jun 17, 2:50 PM
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    eddddy
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 2:50 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 2:50 PM
    Please could you clarify what you mean by [/FONT][/COLOR]


    “So the lease may say that the freeholder must maintain the garden (and re-charge leaseholders).

    But it probably doesn't say that the freeholder can improve the garden, and charge leaseholders.”


    Is there a difference between ‘maintain’ and ‘improve’ ?

    Thanks so much
    Originally posted by t45

    Examples of maintain (or repair) are:
    • Remove weeds from a garden path
    • Repair a garden path that is crumbling
    • Repair a garden wall that is crumbling
    • Replace a fence that has worn out and fallen down
    • Replace a lock on a communal door that has worn out
    • Prune a tree that has grown too large
    • Replace worn out garden lighting
    • Replace a worn out garden bench

    Examples of improvements might be:
    • Add a new length of garden path
    • Add a water feature to the garden
    • Build new garden walls
    • Plant new trees
    • Install new garden lighting
    • Install a new garden bench

    - i.e. adding new stuff which wasn't there when the lease was originally granted.

    Would you know the definition of ‘service charge’ as really, in this context, it can mean anything from painting a wall to cutting a hedge or a branch off a tree.
    Originally posted by t45
    'Service charge' covers the cost of the freeholder doing anything that the lease requires/allows them to do.

    So if the lease requires/allows the freeholder to cut the hedge, paint the wall etc, then the freeholder can recover the cost via a service charge.
    Last edited by eddddy; 12-06-2017 at 2:56 PM.
    • t45
    • By t45 14th Jun 17, 10:58 AM
    • 99 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    t45
    • #6
    • 14th Jun 17, 10:58 AM
    • #6
    • 14th Jun 17, 10:58 AM
    This is very helpful - thank you all very much
    • t45
    • By t45 16th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • 99 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    t45
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    Just to continue on this thread that I started some time ago -
    I am a leaseholder in a property of 3 flats – the freehold has gone ahead and extended a contract of an external contractor without gaining the permission of all leaseholders.
    I was led to believe that if there is a long term contract Section 20 Consultation process should be followed.
    Basically, they started a contract earlier this year for gardening maintenance work which as one of 3 leaseholders agreed to with the aim to review in SEPTEMBER. There has been no review from my side and the freeholder has gone ahead and extended the contract without asking the opinion of all leaseholders.
    What can I do?
    The continued maintenance that they have agreed to with the contractor is not something that I believe is required yet I am contributing towards the cost.
    Many thanks for any ideas,

    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 16th Oct 17, 6:49 PM
    • 219 Posts
    • 227 Thanks
    HampshireH
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 17, 6:49 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 17, 6:49 PM
    Have you queried it with your freeholder in writing and put your point across with all the facts.

    Out of interest what does the 3rd leaseholder think?
    • t45
    • By t45 17th Oct 17, 10:28 AM
    • 99 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    t45
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 17, 10:28 AM
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 17, 10:28 AM
    Many thanks hampshireH - I have emailed the freeholders with my point and as far as I am aware the other leaseholder has agreed. However, it would seem that the freeholder has just gone ahead and entered a long term contract with the contractor without considering my input/thoughts. The plan was to review but it seems that we have not had a proper review and that a decision has been made with the agreement of the other leaseholder and the freeholder. I don't see how this is right or acceptable
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th Oct 17, 11:37 AM
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    eddddy
    Many thanks hampshireH - I have emailed the freeholders with my point and as far as I am aware the other leaseholder has agreed. However, it would seem that the freeholder has just gone ahead and entered a long term contract with the contractor without considering my input/thoughts. The plan was to review but it seems that we have not had a proper review and that a decision has been made with the agreement of the other leaseholder and the freeholder. I don't see how this is right or acceptable
    Originally posted by t45
    If you think the cost is unreasonable, firstly you can challenge it informally (which you seem to be doing), then you can challenge it formally...

    1) You don't have to pay it unless/until you receive a correct Service Charge Demand.
    See Section 3.1 https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/service-charges-other-issues/

    2) If you think that the charge is unreasonable, you can challenge it.
    Again see: https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/service-charges-other-issues/
    • t45
    • By t45 20th Oct 17, 11:27 AM
    • 99 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    t45
    Many thanks – we have a bit of a problem now as I contacted the freeholder informally to say that i think what they are asking is unreasonable. A few months ago the freeholder said we would have a REVIEW before we would continue with the works. This so called review had not happened yet the FH has gone ahead and contracted a third party without asking myself as 1 of 3 LHs.
    We were told that we would have opportunity to review yet FH have gone ahead and entered into a long term contract without consultation and review which they said would happen. They are now demanding payment saying that it is our obligation to do so. However, I don’t see why I must do this is there has been no consultation or review which was decided would happen but has not.
    I feel that i am cornered into having to agree to something and pay for that i think is unreasonable. As far i am aware the LH has agreed with FH
    • G_M
    • By G_M 20th Oct 17, 11:39 AM
    • 41,985 Posts
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    G_M
    1) Start by talking to the other leaseholder. You say: "as far as I am aware the other leaseholder has agreed." but that sounds like the freeholder told you this. Find out for yourself exactly how the other leaseholder feels. 2 people working together can achieve more than one alone.

    2) next, read your lease. You've been advised on this before, but what exactly does it say? What can/mustt the freeholder do? What must the leaseholders pay? When and how?

    3) since resolving this informally is not working, it may be time to get formal.

    a) stop emailing and send a letter
    b) read the lease, and quote relevant clauses
    c) read the links provided earlier to leaseadvice and find the relevant rules on service charges. Quote them in your letter.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 20th Oct 17, 12:18 PM
    • 5,439 Posts
    • 5,119 Thanks
    eddddy
    Many thanks – we have a bit of a problem now as I contacted the freeholder informally to say that i think what they are asking is unreasonable.

    <snip>
    Originally posted by t45
    You're kind of missing the point.

    It doesn't really matter what the freeholder says in these circumstances. The law (and your lease) override whatever the freeholder says.

    Just because somebody tells you have to pay them money, it doesn't mean it's true.

    Concentrate your efforts on understanding the law and your lease - the links to LEASE above are a good starting point.

    You can also get 15 mins of free phone advice from LEASE: https://clients.lease-advice.org/appointments.aspx
    • t45
    • By t45 20th Oct 17, 12:43 PM
    • 99 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    t45
    Many thanks – this is really much appreciated and you have offered superb advice – i shall concentrate my efforts on understanding the law and my lease
    I have been informed by the FH that it is MY OBLOGATION to make to payment towards the maintenance work ( I have duly paid for the first 6 months and stopped my payment expecting a review) but the fact is that the REVIEW that was promised to see whether or not ongoing work and the intensity of work required, did not happen and there has been no proper consultation with LHs regarding this work.
    The FH has entered into a long term contract without all LH agreement and is now telling me that I must pay for the next 2 months work as they have agreed it.
    They have also said that as FH owners and landlords the decision for such work ultimately comes down to them which may be true but surely LHs have some voice and be able to express their thoughts on matters.
    I appreciate that maintenance work is required, prior to this the work we had for years and years was always ad hoc and seemed to work fine and it has only this year been decided that this should change to monthly maintenance as a such and such cost. This is fine but we were told we would review the situation as FHs were aware that not all LHs were happy with this arrangement BUT as said NO REVIEW has happened.
    Sorry to go on and on about this but I do believe that our voice as LH is being squashed by the FH.
    I wonder if it is worth considering RIGHT TO MANAGE and possibly COLLECTIVE ENFRACHISEMENT.
    I am writing letter to other LH too to see how they feel.
    Many thanks
    • G_M
    • By G_M 20th Oct 17, 1:10 PM
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    • 48,599 Thanks
    G_M
    Good grief! How many times?
    I have been informed by the FH that it is MY OBLOGATION to make to payment towards the maintenance work
    You're kind of missing the point.

    It doesn't really matter what the freeholder says in these circumstances. The law (and your lease) override whatever the freeholder says.
    READ THE LEASE.
    LEARN THE LAW AND YOUR RIGHTS.
    IGNORE WHAT THE FH SAYS UNLESS YOU KNOW HE IS RIGHT

    You keep thanking us for our advice and then ignore that advice and simply repeat your concern.

    If you're not willing to take suggestions on board and help yourself, noone can help you. All that happens is we (well, I for one) lose patience and move on.
    Last edited by G_M; 20-10-2017 at 1:13 PM.
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