Splitting external house costs among leaseholders?

Hi all 

Our upstairs leaseholder neighbour has found damp in the top right corner of one of their rooms in our split leaseheld mid-terrace 2-storey house.

While we don't have any damp in our flat (ground floor), am I right to assume that any external works to remedy this would be split 50/50? 

His builder has told him that scaffolding is needed, however, the scaffolding is only needed to repair his property (side wall). Would I still be expected to contribute evenly to his repairs? 

If the quote is ridiculous, are we within our right to ask for a second opinion? 

Many thanks!

Z

Comments

  • gm0
    gm0 Posts: 789
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    edited 24 January at 7:16PM
    Who is the freeholder.  Is it one of you.  All of you as shares of it. 
    And do you (or they) have a managing agent in place. 
    If its a 20 person block. Probably have an agent.  If it's a basement, ground and upstairs - a split house - then maybe not.  More informal until something comes up - which it now has.

    It could be - a company (You need to talk to them - or their agent)
    You and your neighbours in 1/nth shares  (You have to agree amongst yourselves)
    Or one of you owns it and then you all have leases. (In which case the onus is on that person to sort it out).

    Any individual leaseholder (like yours with the damp) can push the "freeholder" whoever it is - to do their job so that they can continue to enjoy the benefits of living in their leasehold flat without the roof falling in on them.  Freeholder sorts out the communal issue and recharges the cost to all the leaseholders - based on what the leases say about shares (it can vary unit to unit with size but clearly will add up to 100% across all of them)

    The freeholder doesn't have to agree by consensus with all the leaseholders the scope of the work or the choice of contractor.  They have to do it properly and commercially - quotes etc. so they can defend it at a tribunal if challenged.  And if people are unhappy - there is a process they need to follow to issue formal notices about the works - to stick by the rules.  People living in a split house - often don't bother with all that - and just agree what to do and the more building savvy resident - sorts the builder out.

    But yes - if you need scaffolding to safely work at heights and fix the roof. And that is communal.  Then the most likely scenario is that you are all responsible to pay a share of the scaffolding and the fix.  And not just the top flat.  Similarly if the building needed work around flooding in a basement flat.  And the issues were with communal structure.  Then it would not be just the basement that pays.

    Each lease will have the bit that is leased to you (demised) in the jargon.  And then the rest of the structure will have terms which explain the recharge of maintenance during the long life of the lease.  What I have said is generic and what matters is your lease, your title plan and what it says.

    One leaseholder can't run off and just do stuff unilaterally and generate recharges for all.  The freeholder - by following the correct process - can.
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,225
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    The first thing to do is to check the wording in your lease.
    But its normal for the cost of all work on the building itself to be shared equally amongs all the leaseholders.  So whoever is in the top floor doesn't end up paying for all roof repairs, while everybody else only pays for repainting the walls.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • proformance
    proformance Posts: 302
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    gm0 said:
    Who is the freeholder.  Is it one of you.  All of you as shares of it. 
    And do you (or they) have a managing agent in place. 
    If its a 20 person block. Probably have an agent.  If it's a basement, ground and upstairs - a split house - then maybe not.  More informal until something comes up - which it now has.

    It could be - a company (You need to talk to them - or their agent)
    You and your neighbours in 1/nth shares  (You have to agree amongst yourselves)
    Or one of you owns it and then you all have leases. (In which case the onus is on that person to sort it out).

    Any individual leaseholder (like yours with the damp) can push the "freeholder" whoever it is - to do their job so that they can continue to enjoy the benefits of living in their leasehold flat without the roof falling in on them.  Freeholder sorts out the communal issue and recharges the cost to all the leaseholders - based on what the leases say about shares (it can vary unit to unit with size but clearly will add up to 100% across all of them)

    The freeholder doesn't have to agree by consensus with all the leaseholders the scope of the work or the choice of contractor.  They have to do it properly and commercially - quotes etc. so they can defend it at a tribunal if challenged.  And if people are unhappy - there is a process they need to follow to issue formal notices about the works - to stick by the rules.  People living in a split house - often don't bother with all that - and just agree what to do and the more building savvy resident - sorts the builder out.

    But yes - if you need scaffolding to safely work at heights and fix the roof. And that is communal.  Then the most likely scenario is that you are all responsible to pay a share of the scaffolding and the fix.  And not just the top flat.  Similarly if the building needed work around flooding in a basement flat.  And the issues were with communal structure.  Then it would not be just the basement that pays.

    Each lease will have the bit that is leased to you (demised) in the jargon.  And then the rest of the structure will have terms which explain the recharge of maintenance during the long life of the lease.  What I have said is generic and what matters is your lease, your title plan and what it says.

    One leaseholder can't run off and just do stuff unilaterally and generate recharges for all.  The freeholder - by following the correct process - can.
    We're both equal shareholders of an Ltd company who is the freeholder. 
  • gm0
    gm0 Posts: 789
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    Look at lease and plans for what is demised to flats. 

    Also read the company articles for the freehold ltd - how freeholder decision making, the director and AGMs is *supposed* to work.  Places with 50 leases can be sketchy on this.  And with 2.  It is unlikely you have been following it.  But it is the legal basis for governance.

    Day to day the director or directors have a level of discretion to crack on. 
    Until the Freeholder AGM tells them different. 

    So you can try to be more involved in greater detail as a fellow director.  Easy road.

    Or you could insist on leaseholder formalities. And then challenge costs you don't like. When the section 20 is issued But will destroy good relations with your neighbour.  Hard road.

    Their starting position is likely to be that water is coming in.  I am doing the work.  I am the active director of the freehold ltd sorting this out for both of us. Why are you being difficult.  Causing delay and extra effort for me with unwanted and unnecessary paperwork which is better spent on getting a good builder.

    In a larger block this sort of thing often causes the existing challenged director to go off in huff and resign - and let someone new have a turn at the thankless task of failing to please the condition maximisers and costs minimisers.  

    But in your case - you two are just stuck with each other. Until somebody dies or sells their lease and freehold.

    Understand Section 20 and your freehold interest.  And what you could insist on. 

    But tread softly.
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