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    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 1:54 PM
    • 72Posts
    • 62Thanks
    straas
    Ground rent arrears / Debt collection
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 18, 1:54 PM
    Ground rent arrears / Debt collection 11th Jan 18 at 1:54 PM
    Hi, hoping for a bit of help:

    We purchased our home approx 4 years ago, and didn't receive a demand for ground rent until December 2017.

    The letter demanded the ground rent arrears and an administration charge of £60.

    I was in the process of querying the charge with the ground rent company and am currently awaiting a reply as I asked for a breakdown of the administration charge as I felt it was unduly high.

    The total of the administration charge and the ground rent arrears was circa £76

    Today I have received a letter from a debt collection agency demanding nearly £400.

    Where do I stand on this?

    Thanks
Page 1
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 18, 1:55 PM
    • 1,776 Posts
    • 1,609 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 1:55 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 1:55 PM
    Hi, hoping for a bit of help:

    We purchased our home approx 4 years ago, and didn't receive a demand for ground rent until December 2017.

    The letter demanded the ground rent arrears and an administration charge of £60.

    I was in the process of querying the charge with the ground rent company and am currently awaiting a reply as I asked for a breakdown of the administration charge as I felt it was unduly high.

    The total of the administration charge and the ground rent arrears was circa £76

    Today I have received a letter from a debt collection agency demanding nearly £400.

    Where do I stand on this?

    Thanks
    Originally posted by straas


    No-one can tell you. You don't say WHY it's jumped an additional £324.
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 2:00 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:00 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:00 PM
    The letter doesn't state.

    The ground rent is £4 annually, the administration charge from the ground rent company was £60.

    The debt collection letter asks for £392 and states that £192 of this is their fee (inc. VAT)
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 18, 2:02 PM
    • 1,776 Posts
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    Comms69
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:02 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:02 PM
    The letter doesn't state.

    The ground rent is £4 annually, the administration charge from the ground rent company was £60.

    The debt collection letter asks for £392 and states that £192 of this is their fee (inc. VAT)
    Originally posted by straas


    Perhaps it's been to court?


    Debt collectors can only add limited charges. Bailiffs on the other hand have quite substantial charges to be added.


    It might be that you have a CCJ
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 2:05 PM
    • 72 Posts
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    straas
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:05 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:05 PM
    Perhaps it's been to court?


    Debt collectors can only add limited charges. Bailiffs on the other hand have quite substantial charges to be added.


    It might be that you have a CCJ
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Would I not have had some correspondence stating this?
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 18, 2:07 PM
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    Comms69
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:07 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:07 PM
    Would I not have had some correspondence stating this?
    Originally posted by straas
    Well in theory yes, but it wouldn't be the first time.


    Without seeing the letter its impossible to say. I'd phone the management company and ask them
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Jan 18, 2:08 PM
    • 42,741 Posts
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    G_M
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:08 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:08 PM
    * so you owe 4 x £4 - £16 yes?
    * are you living at the property or is it perhaps rented out?
    * are you sure you never received a demand for payment before? Might it have gone elsewhere or been ignored or lost?
    * an admin charge of £60 is not unusual where chasing non-payment is involved - the question is whether this is the 1st demand for payment or not
    * what date in December was the letter sent? A reasonable gap would be required before passing it to debt collectors.
    * the debt collectors fee seems high, but why did you not take immediate acton when 1st letter received in December?
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 2:08 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:08 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:08 PM
    Well in theory yes, but it wouldn't be the first time.


    Without seeing the letter its impossible to say. I'd phone the management company and ask them
    Originally posted by Comms69
    They have no phone number, it's email only. They have asked for all correspondence to now be with the debt collection agency.
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 2:09 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:09 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:09 PM
    * so you owe 4 x £4 - £16 yes?
    * are you living at the property or is it perhaps rented out?
    * are you sure you never received a demand for payment before? Might it have gone elsewhere or been ignored or lost?
    * an admin chare of £60 is not unusual were chasing non-payment is involved - the question is whether this is the 1st demand for payment or not
    * what datee in December was the letter sent? A reasonable gap would be required before passing it to debt collectors.
    * the debt collectors fee seems high, but wh did you not take immediate acton when 1st leter received in December?
    Originally posted by G_M
    The demand letter was received 5th December.

    I was in the process of querying the administration charge, they have been slow to reply which I put down to the christmas period.

    And yes I owe £16, so £392 is quite the jump!
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 18, 2:23 PM
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    Comms69
    They have no phone number, it's email only. They have asked for all correspondence to now be with the debt collection agency.
    Originally posted by straas
    That may well be unfortunate. You don't owe the debt collectors any money.


    *** assuming they are JUST debt collectors
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 2:31 PM
    • 72 Posts
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    straas
    This is the letter I received today. I was told the next step would be taken 7 days from the date on the letter (9th)

    https://ibb.co/kjuP7R
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 18, 2:38 PM
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    Comms69
    It's abit confusing but it seems to be charges agreed in your lease. Can you check what it says?
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 2:43 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    I don't think I've seen a lease for the house, I can check through everything we got when we bought the house though.
    • CommitedToChange
    • By CommitedToChange 11th Jan 18, 2:52 PM
    • 1,181 Posts
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    CommitedToChange
    Did you pay the ground rent when it was requested? If not pay that now at least.
    Attempting to buy a house
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 3:52 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    Rather foolishly, no.

    I have today paid the £16 - should I also pay their administration charge?

    I will pay the full amount if required - but it feels like extortion at the moment.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Jan 18, 4:26 PM
    • 42,741 Posts
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    G_M
    The demand letter was received 5th December.

    I was in the process of querying the administration charge, they have been slow to reply which I put down to the christmas period.
    Originally posted by straas
    That's very ambiguous! "in the process....." means what? You'd started typing it but not finished?

    You received the demand letter on 5th december. Did you or did you not reply to it, and if yes, when & saying what? And did you pay the uncontested £16 you knew you owed?

    That was over 5 weeks ago. OK I know Christmas got in the way, but for £16........

    And what are the answers to the other Qs?
    • straas
    • By straas 11th Jan 18, 6:03 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    Hi,

    By in the process I mean I had queried it via 3 emails to the ground rent company and was awaiting a reply to the third email.

    In terms of the other questions.

    I live in the house

    I haven't previously seen a demand, the house was being refurbished for the first year we owned it and we didn't live here so it's possible it was delivered and misplaced by a workman.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Jan 18, 7:47 PM
    • 42,741 Posts
    • 49,961 Thanks
    G_M
    I would pay the £16 immediately, and then write (letter - OK send an email version as well) reviewing the history eg

    * initial and only demand sent 4/12/17
    * 1st email query sent x/12/17
    * reply from them, x/12/17
    * 2nd email query sent x/12/17
    * reply from them, x/12/17
    * 3rd email query sent x/12/17
    * no reply received

    Then query why

    a) an admin charge was added to the initial demand. Until that demand was received no ground rent was due, so no admin charge can be imposed
    b) they did not reply to your query
    c) they referred the matter to debt collectors while negotiations were ongoing

    Finally state that you now enclose (or have sent) the ground rent owed of £16, and that you consider the matter closed since they have failed to justify the additional charges.

    Their only option if you stick to this will be to take you to court where you argue the points above.

    Meanwhile, if you decide to follow this advice, ignore the debt collectors (or refer them back to their client) and do NOT invite them into your home!

    Note: all the above assumes these are private debt collectors. If there has already been a court hearing that you missed, and these are court bailiffs, then ignore the above!
    • dimbo61
    • By dimbo61 11th Jan 18, 10:02 PM
    • 9,643 Posts
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    dimbo61
    Just Google Property Debt Collection ltd and read a few reviews.
    Tips on letters to write back and stop rip off charges
    • straas
    • By straas 12th Jan 18, 9:27 AM
    • 72 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    straas
    I've paid the £16 and send emails to both the ground rent company and debt collectors.

    I get the impression they will drag their heels so they can add on additional administration fees?
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