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    • Steven_A
    • By Steven_A 12th Jun 17, 12:52 PM
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    Steven_A
    Is the property information sheet (TA6 form) legally binding
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 17, 12:52 PM
    Is the property information sheet (TA6 form) legally binding 12th Jun 17 at 12:52 PM
    Hello,

    I'm wondering if anyone can help with a little problem I currently have.

    I am in the process of selling my home. It is a freehold property on a new development. When I say new - it is part of a renovated church.

    When buying the property off the developers we were told there was no service charge to be incurred. We have never had a bill before (we moved in september 2014)

    Last week I received a bill for services charges from them. (putting bins out, gardening, window cleaning etc)

    I remember being told we did not have to pay any management fee. I checked my papaerwork from buying the house and on the TA6 proeprty information form they have clearly ticked the box the says "no management fee"

    Is this legally binding does anyone know?

    As I am no selling, I want to sell the property as I bought it with no charges applied.

    Would the developers I bought the property off be able to say their TA6 form was in error and I should have been paying?

    They are asking for a meeting with us about this now.

    I'm thinking of just passing them to our solicitors to deal with to resolve it

    Any comments / advice would be great!

    Thanks in advance

    S
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Jun 17, 1:17 PM
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    G_M
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:17 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:17 PM
    Yes the TA6 forms part of the contract.

    However, you'd also have to look at your property Title and asociated documents.

    Is the property freehold or leasehold? If leasehold, read the lease too.

    If the Title documents state there is a fee, then you'll have topay it.

    However, in that case you might have grounds to make a claim for breach of contract based on the TA6. I'd advise proper legal advice before trying that.

    Step one is to get hold of your Title, any Deeds, conveyances or other docs referred to in the Title, and the lease if any, and read them all carefully.

    If such a charge does exist, you would, of course, have to declare it yourself when selling.

    Logically, if someone is doing window cleaning, gardening etc for you, it would be surprising if this was free. Did you never wonder who was arranging this and why?
    Last edited by G_M; 12-06-2017 at 1:20 PM.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 12th Jun 17, 1:27 PM
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:27 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:27 PM
    Just because there was no service fee due in September 2014 does not mean that the developer can't start charging one after that date.

    Also, a bill for gardening etc isn't a "management" fee. It's a bill for a service provided. If the developer is simply passing on the costs of the service without taking a profit or surcharge then the developer isn't charging a management fee.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Steven_A
    • By Steven_A 12th Jun 17, 2:11 PM
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    Steven_A
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 2:11 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Jun 17, 2:11 PM
    Hi.

    Thanks for the responses.

    The property is freehold. We are the only freehold on the scheme, the rest of the proeprties are leasehold.

    My confusion with the matter arose when the bill was sent to us out of the blue.

    We were specifically told when buying the property that we were no subject to any charges.

    Looking through all legal paperwork, the only thing I can see which mentions this, is the TA6 form, which states there is no “management fee”. Having checked the title documents, there is no other mention to this.

    In terms of the works carried out – I have my own entry to the scheme so thought do not have to use the communal one, our windows were done once, and we told them not to come back as we do not pay for them. The bins being put out, is fair enough, they do, do this. My issue is that we were told we do not pay a fee, the legal documents appear to back this up, yet they seem intent on charging us.

    If they are intent on arguing the point, Should the developer have something they can provide us from their side which legally states we should be paying this?
    • DumbMuscle
    • By DumbMuscle 12th Jun 17, 3:23 PM
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    DumbMuscle
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:23 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:23 PM
    It might be worth getting an agreement to make it optional for the next buyer - e.g. "You can have your windows and gardens done for £x, or you can skip that if you want", since then it can be sold as an added extra for the property rather than a required fee.

    By the sound of it, they've only provided one of the services (bins), and that seems like the kind of thing you could reasonably assume would carry no charge. The service which would carry a charge (windows), you refused, pointing out that you don't pay for it, and have had no response until this bill. Has any gardening been done which affects your property?

    From what you've said, there doesn't appear to be any contract between you which would allow them to charge a fee, and your refusal of the window cleaning is a pretty good indication that you didn't intend for there to be one.

    I would suggest pointing this out to them - perhaps offering to pay for that one time your windows were done, and a token amount for putting the bins out just to get this settled. Try to get something in writing that there's no obligation to pay on you or the next buyer (but as said, if there is the option for them getting garden/windows/bin done for a reasonable fee, you might be able to turn that in to a selling point).

    Probably better to do this in writing rather than at a meeting - though if you're good at arguing in person, then the meeting might get things moving quicker (just be sure to send a summary of what was discussed to them afterwards, so you have a record in writing).

    Something along the lines of:

    "We do not believe that we owe any fee to you. When we purchased the property, we were specifically informed that there were no management or service fees (both in person, and on the enclosed TA6), and no indication of any such fees is present on any documents noting agreements between us and you.

    Regarding the services on the invoice:

    - The windows were cleaned once on (DATE). Following this, we informed you(/the cleaners) that as we did not pay a service fee, our windows should not be cleaned along with the rest of the properties. There were no further attempts made to clean the windows, and we were not informed at that point that you expected us to pay a service fee (either on a continuous basis, or for the mistaken cleaning of our windows).
    - No gardening has been performed on our property. Any gardening on the leasehold properties is part of your maintenance of that property, and not our responsibility.
    - We note that the bins have been taken out, but again we note that there was no prior agreement, and the bins alone would not justify the service charge.

    We request a response in writing indicating that we are not liable for any service charges, and that anyone who buys our property will also not be liable. We can put you in touch with any buyer following exchange for separate negotiation if they wish to use those services. We will take out our own bins from now on."
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jun 17, 3:25 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:25 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:25 PM
    Well - if you're the only freehold property and the rest are leasehold - then it's entirely understandable that you took it for granted only the leasehold properties pay and that they are under a different arrangement to yourselves.

    Basically - as I understand it - unless there's something there in the paperwork saying that there is a service charge on your property then there isn't one.

    Re that legal questionnaire you mention - it's my understanding that if the vendor (in this case the developer) lies on the form (eg by saying there was no service charge - but it turned out there actually was) then you could sue them for "misrepresentation".

    I would have thought this bill was sent to you in error and what you need to do is to check your paperwork carefully (in case a service charge is down there in the deeds so to say). If it isn't - then you write back to them saying words to effect of:
    - I've checked the following paperwork I have in connection with my freehold house (list it all) and there is no mention of a service charge.
    - You yourselves stated on the (legal questionnaire) that there is no service charge. As you will be aware, it is incumbent on vendors to fill in this questionnaire accurately by law.

    Therefore - accordingly I notify you that there is no service charge and your bill was sent to me in error.

    *************

    If the Deeds say there is a service charge - but their legal questionnaire says there isn't = at that point you get legal advice and ask a solicitor what the position is in the event of the two documents "clashing".

    You do have legal insurance as an add-on to your household cover I presume?
    ******************
    • Steven_A
    • By Steven_A 12th Jun 17, 3:38 PM
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    Steven_A
    • #7
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:38 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:38 PM
    Thanks very much for those responses, very helpful.

    in terms of the gardening, ntohing takes place on my property. Although I do have access from my side gate to the communal pathway which contains a small flowered area which is tended to maybe twice a year. I have my own front gate however so i tend to use that
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 12th Jun 17, 3:48 PM
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    eddddy
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:48 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:48 PM
    They are asking for a meeting with us about this now.
    Originally posted by Steven_A
    This would suggest to me that they know they're 'in trouble'. Otherwise they would just send you a short letter.

    Unless you are very confident in negotiating, don't agree to anything at the meeting - just listen and say that you will have a think about it and get back to them.

    I'm thinking of just passing them to our solicitors to deal with to resolve it
    Originally posted by Steven_A
    From memory, my solicitor charges about £250 an hour plus £9 to receive an email, £60 to send a letter.

    It might be worth finding out what the developer wants to say before involving solicitors.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jun 17, 4:04 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 17, 4:04 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 17, 4:04 PM
    I'd rather interpret "a meeting" in a similar way.

    I'm hazarding a guess that there should have been service charges imposed on your property in the first place - but someone somewhere "made a booboo" and didn't write them down in any of the paperwork (Deeds, etc). Followed by someone else noting that it wasnt down in the paperwork and therefore assuring you there was no such charge.

    Now they've realised they should have put it in the paperwork in the first place - and are hoping to persuade you to allow them to do so OR ignore the fact it's not in the paperwork (and therefore not chargeable).

    In your position - I would be "too busy" for a meeting - as I can't honestly see what else it could be about in the circumstances (I may be wrong). As you have no intention of being persuaded into letting them impose a charge that was never there in the first place - then what purpose would it serve for you to go to one?

    There may be some other explanation for what is happening here - but I'd lay pretty good odds that that is what has happened.

    You "bought what you saw" and what you saw did not include service charges by the sound of it.
    ******************
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 12th Jun 17, 4:34 PM
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    AnotherJoe
    What moneyistooshort said; reply to them stating that "since the TA6 states there is no charge, as you are freehold not leasehold its clear you have made a mistake, please correct your records."
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Jun 17, 5:16 PM
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    G_M
    We were specifically told when buying the property that we were no subject to any charges.
    'told'? Pretty meaningless.
    The TA6? Part of the contract.

    Looking through all legal paperwork, the only thing I can see which mentions this, is the TA6 form, which states there is no “management fee”.
    OK
    Having checked the title documents, there is no other mention to this.
    OK

    If they are intent on arguing the point, Should the developer have something they can provide us from their side which legally states we should be paying this?
    Originally posted by Steven_A
    Of course. No court would support their claim for a fee if you had no legal obligation to pay one.



    Dear Mr Whoever,

    Thank you for your letter dated (X) enclosing an invoice for £Y for alleged services provided to the above address, and your subsequent (phone conversation?) requesting a meeting.

    I should like to make the following points:

    1) I have never requested, or contracted, any of these services, which, if provided, were provided without my consent, and without consultation

    2) My Title documents, and Deeds, show no requirement to pay any management fee, service charge, or any other charges, to any Party

    3) My Title documents, and Deeds, show no services to which I am entitled, and hence I have never expected or demanded any such services.

    4) The form TA6 (copy enclosed) provided as part of the Standard Conditions of Sale from when I purchased the property clearly show that no fees are associated with the property.

    I therefore see no purpose in the meeting you propose and trust this resolves the matter.

    However, should you have documents I have overlooked that indicate a liability, kindly forward copies to me for my consideration.

    yours sincerely

    Steven A

    (there you go: £250 worth of solicitor's letter...... donation of whatever you think it's worth, to https://www.myeloma.org.uk/ if you use it please)
    Last edited by G_M; 12-06-2017 at 10:43 PM. Reason: typos corrected to justify the donation to myeloma research!
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 12th Jun 17, 5:26 PM
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    AnotherJoe
    Nice one G_M. I wonder if to help them out it might be worth adding ?

    6. My property is freehold, since all the other properties on this estate are leasehold it seems most likely someone in your company has not realised this and assumed that my property should be charged on the same basis as those.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Jun 17, 5:31 PM
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    G_M
    Nice one G_M. I wonder if to help them out it might be worth adding ?

    6. My property is freehold, since all the other properties on this estate are leasehold it seems most likely someone in your company has not realised this and assumed that my property should be charged on the same basis as those.
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe
    What happened to 5)........?

    But yes, or simply amend 2) & 3) to read:

    "My Freehold Title documents, and ......."
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 12th Jun 17, 6:51 PM
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    AnotherJoe
    What happened to 5)........?

    But yes, or simply amend 2) & 3) to read:

    "My Freehold Title documents, and ......."
    Originally posted by G_M
    Oops LOL ######
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 12th Jun 17, 6:56 PM
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    PasturesNew
    It could be a mistake if you're the only freehold property there. You need to go back and double check.

    My dad bought a house that had a bit of access land that was leasehold, so he bought that freehold and 10 years later randomly started receiving bills because the original paperwork had been sold in a "bundle of freeholds" to another company and the bundle included the leasehold land, but had not been marked as freehold sold on.

    All it took him was a phone call to sort it out. Nothing to pay, he was freehold.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Jun 17, 6:58 PM
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    davidmcn
    We were specifically told when buying the property that we were no subject to any charges.
    Originally posted by Steven_A
    Specifically told this by your solicitor when they reported to you on what the title deeds said?
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jun 17, 7:35 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Specifically told this by your solicitor when they reported to you on what the title deeds said?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    I took that as meaning = specifically told by the developer.

    Though that may be, of course, because my solicitor (legal executive to be exact) that I found was doing the paperwork when I bought my current house didnt say anything at all to me about what my title deeds said and I found out subsequently they should have done so and I was having to "sort their work out" somewhat for myself (or, to be more accurate, the friend of a friend that turned out to be a barrister explaining things to me for free....).

    Hence - perfectly prepared to believe lots of people doing the legal work may well equally not say a thing about anything they've noticed (or should have noticed).
    ******************
    • Steven_A
    • By Steven_A 13th Jun 17, 8:54 AM
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    Steven_A
    yes I vividly remember the conversation whereby they said you do not pay anything.
    • Steven_A
    • By Steven_A 13th Jun 17, 8:56 AM
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    Steven_A
    Thanks for all the responses - very helpful.

    My gut feeling is that now we are selling the property they have noticed an opportunity to put the cost onto the person buying the house.

    I'm worried it can affect the sale but hopefully it can be put to bed using some of the advice above

    Thanks very much everyone
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 13th Jun 17, 9:05 AM
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    davidmcn
    yes I vividly remember the conversation whereby they said you do not pay anything.
    Originally posted by Steven_A
    In that case you seem safe enough, if you haven't separately signed up for any of these services.
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