Open Space Management Charges

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
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RobothellRobothell Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
Looking for some advice here guys. Was reading the post about ground rent and I have a similar predicament, albeit with a different charge. I received a bill a short while ago for "Open Space Management", basically stating that maintenance of the open spaces in the development (roadside verges, kids play park etc) are not going to be funded by the council for the first ten years. As such, the developer has been covering these and has helpfully provided me with my share of the bill (around £300).

Now, I took the house over from the first owner in October 2003. At no stage was I informed that there was going to be a charge for this, nor did I agree to pay this. It certainly isn't mentioned in any of the documentation I received from my Solicitor at the time of the sale. Aside from this, the bill also covers the time that the first owner had the property, I have no kids that use these open spaces and none of them are ajoining my property. Fair enough, the green spaces look nice and I enjoy them but I object to being charged for the management of these without agreeing to this first.:mad:

Simple question: am I liable for this charge? As a first time buyer I've no idea if this is a standard charge with new builds or if the developer is just chancing his arm. At the minute I'm holding out given that I asked them 18 months ago to fix some downspouting and some flashing on the roof and am yet to have either done despite several phone calls, emails and calling into the site office a few times.
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Replies

  • NDK49NDK49 Forumite
    177 Posts
    I think this is a standard charge. When I moved into my new house the owners and my solicitor both mentioned the management charges and maybe this is something you can check with your solicitor. Maybe you could find out if the solicitor missed it or if there was there no mention of charges for the solicitor to see.
  • bingo_bangobingo_bango Forumite
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    Since yiou have only had use of the property since 203, then you would onl be liable for the charges since then.
    This also would be dependent on your contract of sale. If this didn't form part of it, and wasn't found as a statutory charge during any searches by your conveyancer (assuming they did their job properly), then tell him to go jump. It's the first owner who owes him.
    Worst case scenario, he comes to you and proves that your contract makes you liable, the builder can only claim back for 6 years. The Limitations Act bars him from enforcing any debt older than that.
  • BigAl94BigAl94 Forumite
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    I would be cautious about advice received here - go see a solicitor and preferably not the one who dealt with the conveyance of the property to you.
  • bingo_bangobingo_bango Forumite
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    I'll agree with Al there. Always treat ANY advice from here as just that...advice. As for going to another solicitor, that may be a good idea, but you'll need to ask yours for a copy of your contract and searches completed first, so these can be checked for clauses, or indeed slack work. Remember you paid the solicitor to complete these documents for you, so are entitled to copies.
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