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  • FIRST POST
    sunshine3
    Ground rent demand plus fees
    • #1
    • 6th Oct 12, 10:49 AM
    Ground rent demand plus fees 6th Oct 12 at 10:49 AM
    I have received a solicitors letter demanding payment of ground rent and fees. Its says "...despite formal demands lawfully served upon you, you have failed to voluntarily pay ground rent...".

    I called them to say I have not received anything from the management company. JbLeitchSolicitors told me that 2 letters were sent by 1st class post. Again I said I had not received them. She said I should have made payment regardless. I explained it was a new company that had taken over the management and that I had no details of who they were nor no banking details for them. I said I would pay the £170 ground rent but not the £124 solicitors fees on top that has been added. She said only the full payment of £294 would be accepted.

    Is this right and does two 1st class letters count as lawful demand & failure to pay?
Page 1
    • csnann
    • By csnann 6th Oct 12, 11:26 AM
    • 451 Posts
    • 413 Thanks
    csnann
    • #2
    • 6th Oct 12, 11:26 AM
    • #2
    • 6th Oct 12, 11:26 AM
    You should repost this on the "House Buying, Renting And Selling" board, they have had several cases like this. There are apparently a number of scammers who send out these demands, although you can't just ignore them as they may have bought the rights to collect money from the leaseholders from the freeholder. The members on other board will be able to advise you on how to proceed.
  • Wywth
    • #3
    • 6th Oct 12, 11:43 AM
    • #3
    • 6th Oct 12, 11:43 AM
    I suggest you have a chat with your local Royal Mail office and or the police.

    To lose one letter is perhaps carelessness, but to have lost two sounds like some kind of more criminal activity involved.
    • Fergie76
    • By Fergie76 6th Oct 12, 4:34 PM
    • 2,227 Posts
    • 2,293 Thanks
    Fergie76
    • #4
    • 6th Oct 12, 4:34 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Oct 12, 4:34 PM
    Are they two letters, the only two that have gone missing as far as you are aware?
  • propertyman
    • #5
    • 6th Oct 12, 8:24 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Oct 12, 8:24 PM
    It's a simple reply

    Thank you for your letter. I would suggest that you reconsider your letter and note that I reserve my position on making a complaint with the Solicitors Regulation Authority for malpractice and competence.

    You are it seems unaware that even if the lease states that I should pay whether formally demanded or not section 166 of the Common hold and leasehold Reform Act 2002 requires that notice ( see Firefox's post) is sent with the landlords or their agents demand which in turn must include the information under Section 47 and 48 of the Landlord And Tenant Act 1987.

    I am therefore not required contractually or voluntarily to pay these amounts.

    Your letter omits to provide copies of these demands and notices so that I can see that you have the correct address and have provided the above statutory information.

    You will be aware that until you do the above allows me to withhold payment and your client is in effect barred from recovering them.

    Should you assert that these are due on the basis that they have been sent and are compliant, I will insist that evidence in person or by affidavit is given to the court to prove that the demands were generated and posted to me and what steps the landlord took to ensure that letters in post are capable of being returned such as a simple "return to sender" or senders ID on a franking mark.

    Keeping a reminder of due dates is a protective measure in my interest however as I have not been made aware of the new agents details nor has your client provided a letter of authority to confirm that they do indeed act for them, I can hardly contact them , can I.

    As to the legal costs that you have added would you please identify the clause in the lease that you intend to rely on for their being charged. As the amount is for rent it is not covered by costs under section 146 of the Law Of Property Act 1925.

    You should also be aware that as these are administration charges these are amounts must be accompanied with a bill setting out the information under Section 47 and 48 above and with the Summary of Rights for Administration charges, otherwise they too can be withheld see 2 b 1 ( and note that for Lands Tribunal read Upper Chamber).

    Costs that you intend to apply for in court that are not provided for under the lease cannot be due until a Court award.

    I therefore respectfully suggest you provide the documentation
    and accept my cheque for ground rent and discuss your costs with your client.

    If you do not then I will immediately apply to the LVT to determine that omission above and for them to determine the payability and reasonableness of your costs as an Admin charge.

    Arses - thats bits optional
    Stop! Think. Read the small print. Trust nothing and assume that it is your responsibility. That way it rarely goes wrong.
    Actively hunting down the person who invented the imaginary tenure, "share freehold";
    if you can show me one I will produce my daughter's unicorn
    • Buzby
    • By Buzby 6th Oct 12, 9:12 PM
    • 8,201 Posts
    • 3,011 Thanks
    Buzby
    • #6
    • 6th Oct 12, 9:12 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Oct 12, 9:12 PM
    Realistically though - you are not disputing that Ground Rent is due and payable by you? Your obligation to pay his to whoever is due it remains paramount. Rather than forcing an issue simply pay what is due/overdue so that your account is clear. Minus, of course any additional charges, ensuring further payments are made on time to he correct beneficiary.

    If it goes to court (on their dollar) yo can point out the lack of notice or correspondence, and your immediate payment of your obligations once these were known. This makes it impossible to assert you have been uncooperative.

    Smart-!!!! letters achieve nothing of value, and simply prove the pursuer was right and you felt no obligation or urgency to pay a valid debt. It is your property you are messing with - so treat it with equal respect. Paying what you owe in full and final settlement of the supposed transgression means hey must refuse payment - again helping you prove you did everything possible to resolve the issue.
  • sunshine3
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 12, 10:23 AM
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 12, 10:23 AM
    Thanks for all your replies.....a bit over my head but I will re-read and act.
  • CAB Wyre Forest representative
    • #8
    • 8th Oct 12, 8:54 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Oct 12, 8:54 AM
    Hello sunshine 3

    You should pay the ground rent that you owe immediately and you can then argue about the legal fees. You should have known in any event that the ground rent was payable. it would be sensible to set up a direct debit or pay it monthly so that you are never in this situation again.

    You may be able to claim Housing Benefit for some types of ground rent and it would worth enquiring at your local council office.

    If the solicitors are genuine then you could ask for a copy of the previous letters, any mistakes on the address etc may indiacte that the solicitor is at fault.

    It is essential that you do resolve this matter as failure to pay ground rent may put you in breach of your lease and if you are in breach of your lease then the lease can be forfeit http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/housing_e/faq_index_housing/faq_housing_leaseholders_can_freeholder_raise_serv ice_charge_for_repairs.htm
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