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  1. Hello all Just looking for a bit of advice please. I own and live in a house which I bought in 2003 on a 25 year mortgage. Since that time I have been paying a tiny ground rent (it’s about £4 semi-annually) to a property management company. I have received an inheritance recently and decided I would try to find out how much it would cost to obtain the freehold on the land my house is built on and how long is left on the lease. This weekend I sent two separate enquiry emails to the property management firm. The first reply I received contained a letter saying they want £90 to provide a quote for buying the freehold. I had only just recovered from the fee they are wanting to send a couple of emails when they responded to my second letter stating that they want £210 to look for the leasehold document to send me a copy from their archives, which they will refund 50% of if they can’t locate it! So they want £210 to answer a question and £105 not to! Does anyone have any suggestions on how I ought to proceed? Many thanks.
  2. New crackdown on rogue agents to protect renters and leasehold homeowners READ MORE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-crackdown-on-rogue-agents-to-protect-renters-and-leasehold-homeowners
  3. Hi this may not be something you can comment on but will try it anyway! I own a 999 year lease(virtual freehold) on a cafe and just recently the landlord asked me if I would like to purchase the freehold on the cafe and the 8 flats above, in other words the freehold of the whole building. The 8 flats are mostly sold on a 999 year lease. We didn't discuss a price but I don't think it would be a frightening price and would be based on the yield the flats generate which is around £5000 pa in ground rent. My question is would it be beneficial to own the freehold or more bother than its worth? Thanks in advance
  4. Hi, The managing agent of my leasehold property has passed my details to SLC solicitors to pursue payment, I was about £4400 in arrears. I have paid the amount along with around £400 added for interest and legal charges, I want to know how I can recover the same. The backstory, from the managing agent I was receiving postal and email communication until Dec 2016 for payments due, but from Jan 2017 I did not receive postal communication anymore. Apparently, they were emailing me the information, but as my email hasn't be working reliably I didn't receive the service charge notices. Significant to note that from Jan 2017, i have been charged interest on dues, this was never charged in the past for any overdue amount (also I'm the only overdue leaseholder who is being charged interest on overdue payments). Also, I was passed to SLC solicitors who have since charged me another £180 in fees for sending 2 letters. The first letter was sent to the wrong address and I didn't receive it until much later, the second letter was sent to my address but was receiving by me after I had made the payment. The managing agent did not send me any letter before starting legal action. I feel that the way this whole thing has been done is really unfair to me and i haven't been properly informed at upcoming action at any point. Please could I know how to proceed to recover the interest and legal charges? I wrote to my managing agent (RICS registered) asking for a refund, but they said that all the charges were paid to the solicitors ( i think it would be unlawful for solicitors to charge interest on top of legal fees?), i think my managing agent is lying. How do i proceed?
  5. Garages don't come up for sale very often round here but there's a freehold one for sale just now. It's at the back of a block of flats which are leasehold and the driveway / tarred area to the garages would come under that leasehold. The seller hasn't paid any fees or service charge for the past 6 years. Can anyone give me advice please without me going to the expense of hiring a solicitor? Thank you
  6. Hi, We own a flat which is 1 of 4 flats that were converted from a single large detached property in 1953. The flats are freehold flats. The maintenance agreement was with a named person on the deeds. That person died years ago, and so the maintenance agreement died with him. we have a situation of 4 freehold flats and no proper maintenance agreement. Over the years not everyone has been in agreement at the same time in getting any work done on the property, and also in getting an agreement sorted out. Recently we have had to get the building re-roofed at a cost of £20k However we now are all in agreement that this maintenance agreement should now be sorted out. Is it better to get the flats put into leasehold with each flat retaining a share of the freehold. or 1 flat owner has suggested Commonhold, of which I know nothing about. or Is there a better solution such as just having a maintenance agreement. Many thanks in advance.
  7. I own a long leasehold flat in a building containing 15 flats. My lease (and the lease of 13 other flat owners) states that we are each responsible for 7.1% of the service charge costs. We queried with our managing agent whether this made our leases defective since 15 x 7.1% would come to 106.5% and we are aware that if the total service charges collected at a development is greater than or less than 100%, this renders the leases defective. To our surprise, our managing agent informed us that one flat owner had noticed this anomaly a few years ago and had approached the freeholder to agree a lease variation which reduced his own service charge percentage to 0.6% - thereby reducing the total service charge collection to 100%. The annual service charges for our building are roughly 25K per annum. This means that 14 of us are having to pay £1775.00 each and one (sneaky) flat owner only pays £150.00! My questions are these: Is it legal for one flat owner’s service charge percentage to be so much lower than the rest of the flat owners? Should the freeholder have re-distributed the service charge percentages evenly so all 15 flats would pay the same service charge percentage?
  8. An interesting scenario for some advise please: Completed on a property end Jan 2016. At the bottom of the property is a garage which was within our boundary and part of the premises on the land registry search. The property was being sold as leasehold. When coming up to completion our solicitor told us that the garage was not being sold as part of the property as the seller had already promised it/sold it to the neighbour. The seller had done this without completing any of the required legal paperwork with the land registry. At completion we were told that as a condition for the sale to complete, the whole property would be transferred to us and we would then have to sell the garage back to the seller for a token 1 pound. Not overly happy with that but we really wanted the house and got a good price. The garage itself is in poor repair, but it is the land it sits on that we want. From what I understand, the leasehold has now been split into the garage and the property/garden. As we didn't own the land with the property being leasehold, we bought the freehold so that we now own the land, including the garage. Any ideas of our legal position now? * Are we responsible for the upkeep of the garage? * Do we charge ground rent? * Can we give notice to cancel their lease and take back the land? * Can we object to any improvement/change to the garage? Many thanks to all
  9. I sold my house because I was made redundant in my mid-50's and was stuggling to get another job. I did eventually get another job and after three months I contacted my mortgage lender, First Direct, and asked them if in principle they would give me another mortgage if I downsized, with the idea being I would reduce my mortgage from £140k to around £80k. They said they would, so I went ahead with the sale. When I contacted FD again they said they would not lend as I hadn't been employed for at least six months in my new job. So I ended up renting. But was laid off again after another few months. So, I bought a flat - this was almost three years ago now. I did it up but couldn't live there as it turned out to be one bed and not two as i thought and freeholder insisted it was reinstated as one bed. I bought the flat at auction as I was unemployed and using the house capital to pay the rent which wasn't a good idea. So anyway, I have tried to sell it. There is a damp problem in the roof above my flat which is causing problems and ultimately I have lost three sales right at the last minute with the first loss due to no maintenance and the second two because of the damp. I have suffered periods of redundancy etc and so I had to have a bridging loan on the flat for trying to fix the damp and also to help with my living costs. The landlord keeps messing around and promises to fix the roof but never gets anything done. Now the loan has expired and the flat has been repossessed. This flat represents everything I have worked for in 40 years, but redundancy has caused me so many problems. When I bought the flat the landlord stated in writing (in the auction pack) that £11k had been spent on the roof but can only produce an invoice for £3k and the roofing agent's receptionist said there is no evidence of £11k being spent, but the roofer now refuses to discuss it. It sounds like accounting fraud etc to me but not sure how I can prove this. I didn't get a survey done as the auction pack came with a surveyor's report. (hindsight is a bummer!) What I need to know is: a) can I sue the landlord for the losses I will suffer when the flat is sold? It is worth around £110k on the open market but not with the damp, and I reckon the lenders will sell for a lot less. b) if I am able to prove fraud or some type of fraudulent/incorrect invoicing activity or false claims by the landlord, what am I able to do to gain compensation. This landlord has basically destroyed me - he knows his stuff whereas I don't really have a clue. He hates women and talks to me and my daughter as silly women - his words. I am losing the will to live, because not only do I have to pay an estate agent and exorbitant interest on the loan, I also have to pay maintenance charges and ground rent. He has not maintained the building and uses it to line his pockets. But I also have a £2.5k council tax bill because the council are now charging me 150% because the flat is empty. I have been well and truly stuffed by this landlord, the council, the lender, the agents, and basically the government for messing with my job in the first place. I now owe the lenders about £50k or just under and the other costs, we are looking at around £55k so I could be left owing money on the flat or getting next to nothing from the sale. I spoke to the lender, Petersbrook Securities, and they said they are obliged to sell with my interests in mind - I'm sure that's cobblers? Is anyone able to offer any advice, including the costs associated with taking any action? I am desperate. I haven't done anything about this since September when it was repossessed as I've been so depressed about it all, and couldn't deal with it, but I'm having an 'up' day and don't want this freeholder to get away with this. thank you
  10. I need urgent advice on a major issue I am facing with the local authority and need urgent advice on the best way forward. I bought a council flat on a right to buy several years ago. In the last 4 years there have been several works the council have done and the charges were quite substantial. One the first invoice I was given an option to spread the payment. On the others no such option was offered, although they claim it was offered. The charges in addition with the annual service charges, it became quite difficult to keep up. In February 2014 the council took me to the county court. I explained at the court that I could not make the full payment but was prepared to enter into an agreement to make instalments, but for reasons I was never made aware of the council suspended the case only to resurrect it in May this year. Between the original case and now I have been making instalments and reduced the balance. On or around the 15th of May I received 'Judgement for Claimant' for the value of £1,329.61, including charges and interest. The council had commenced county court action in February 2014, but suspended it, but I was not aware that it had been suspended. I spoke to the council because the value claimed was incorrect as I had made a payment of £300 before I received the judgement. They confirm it. I sent an N245 to the court providing income and expenditure and the sum I am able to afford. I have not yet had a reply from the court. The balance due from the case is now less than £1000 due to the instalments I have been making On 18th June I received a 'Breach of Lease' notice from the council enclosing Notice under Section 146 of the Property Act 1925 and asking that I make full payment within 21 days or further legal action would be taken resulting in forfeit of the lease. This was despite not receiving any decision from the County Court. I have researched Section 146 of the Property Act and I do not believe the council are acting in accordance with the law. Further I have spoken to the council and more than one occasion and had various email exchanges about the possibility of instalments payments but they are refusing to even consider it, even though they can see that I am making an effort to make payment. I am not sure what steps I can take now and my wife and I are quite worried at the possibility of losing our home and would like some advice on how to tackle this issue. Many thanks
  11. Hello All, I live in a London council flat purchased a year ago (2014), there is a roof space size of a bed room that i want to insert a roof window. Also In 2009 I inserted a full size door to lead to the roof space.This wasn't discovered when purchase survey was carried out. Question is what do i need to do to get the permission? and also do i have to apply for a retrospective permission for the door or has this already passed a limit? Thanks in advance
  12. The purpose of exposing the truth about this story will contribute to finding the truth so that justice can finally achieved for us and for other people in the similar situations. I do not have a big group of leaseholders behind me and hence I am completely isolated and silenced. My home has been flooded for 10 years. I was deprived of any dignity in my own home. I experienced that silence to which I was constrained after a decade-long attack on my dignity as a human being before I was removed from my home with my evidence being ignored. The only objective of any exposure is the search for truth. There is no place for the “politically correct.” in a system that privileges parasitic opportunists at the expenses of families and people that cannot defend themselves on equal grounds. Anyone should be given the right to expose their side of the story according to the evidence available. I hope that consumeractiongroup will concede me this opportunity always with respect for the law and, of course, to relevant enquiries. I am looking for urgent expertise and help by consumers who are knowledgeable about planning issues and conveyancing. Some details of my story are available here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/conversion_in_eight_flats_at_34 if anyone bothers to follow the link and read up to the bottom I will then ask few urgent questions, Thanks a lot, Homeless Gullyver An isolated and silenced leaseholder.
  13. I wonder if there is anyone among you, who have experienced Leasehold Fraud. The point being, in that some may have been Repossessed due to Service Charges, even when they've redeemed their Mortages for the considered sum. I'm looking to speak to anyone who fits that specific criteria. It appears that Leaseholders are being deemed as Tenants.. . This is a sufferance & not to be mixed up with actual Tenants. Even RICS have stated that Managing Agents in particular are the wild west of their industry. Also how many have the statement: "the lessor is seised of fee simple in possession free from encumbrances" - as far as I know with that statement it should mean once the Mortgage is redeemed - it's yours. Providing you've been in situ in excess of 12 Yrs with the Freeholder not actioning recovery of the Premises - you're meant to be on the home run. Apparently not so. So does anyone have any info about this?
  14. Hi This is a long one!! Sorry in advance My husband and I purchased our leasehold property 9 years ago come this November. We have had a constant problem with damp, especially in my sons bedroom. I've contacted the company who carried out the damp course over the years as in our leasehold contract it stated there was a 30 year guarantee and twice they have been round to re do it only the damp keeps coming back. I had them round for a third time and was told that the black mould growing up my sons wall was only condensation and told to move all the furniture away from the walls! How anyone can live with all their furniture in the middle of the room is beyond me but still... I done the best I could and washed down the walls again. (His room has had to be decorated every 9 months to a year because of the smell of damp). The walls are black again now. In June of this year I called a damp expert round to have a look. He put his damp detector thing on the wall and said there is definitely rising damp and the damp course needed re-doing. I sent the managing agent (who is also a local estate agent...) the copy of the damp report and quote. He in turn got his company round (the ones who had originally done the damp course) and I was told that yes the walls were damp. I would need air vents fitted and the damp course would need to be redone as our walls are 12 inches thick and they had only gone in 3 inches and never filled up the holes hence water was still getting in. This was back in June. August 21st two men turned up and put an air vent in my sons room and my bedroom and I asked about the damp course. They didn't know anything about it. We've also got a problem in our dining room which we believe has been a pipe coming from the upstairs flat that has been leaking. (Our place is a house spilt into 2 flats, we have the ground floor, the managing agent is the freeholder who has the upstairs flat) either that or the pipes in my bathroom (which was only renewed in January this year) are leaking (which we are not sure about) but decided to try and claim on the buildings insurance, this has to be done through the managing agent. I've been emailing the managing agent every few days asking what is happening as I am waiting to re decorate my sons room AGAIN and have now been told that the damp course doesn't need doing at all. Also the damp in my dining room cannot be proven to be coming from the pipe in the wall therefore he will not allow me to claim on the insurance for the water damage from the pipe or bathroom. We have paid a maintenance charge every month for the last 9 years and all we have ever managed to get him to pay for was a new gutter at the front of the building as my room was damp and that was caused by a leaking gutter. Do I have a leg to stand on if I get the work done in my home ie another company round to carry out a PROPER damp course, the re-decorating of my sons room and through lounge diner and charge him for it?
  15. Hello I am hoping someone could advise me. A few years ago we bought a shop from the owner who also owned the freehold of the whole building which included our shop, another shop and several flats above. We have a standard commercial lease, we are the first tenants of the shop so we hold the head lease. Since then the landlord has sold the freehold to an investment company but our landlord took a 999 year lease on the ground floor of the property which is basically the 2 shops. The landlord was paying a peppercorn rent to the new freeholder and we paid our rent and service charge to our original landlord, as do the tenants of the other shop. recently our landlord has sold the ground floor and we have a new landlord. My question is this - are we still the head lease or are we now the sub lease? Are our obligations eg to pay the rent even if we close the shop still the same? Has our legal position changed at all? BTW I am sorry if I have some legal terminology wrong. regards Cathygh
  16. Good Morning CAGgers, I'm after some info please. My wife and I are purchasing a flat and we're unsure about whether we have to pay SDLT or not. The purchase price is £125,000 which according to gov.uk and HMRC website falls below the SDLT threshold, but I'm also starting to find things about because it's a flat and a leasehold property there may be SDLT to pay on the lease. The flat was built in 1979 with a 999 year lease so that leaves 964 years left (long after I'm worm food lol). The rent on the property will be £150 twice yearly. Please can anyone help as to whether SDLT is payable and how much...and maybe explain it in easy to understand terms unlike the government websites? Thanks Steve
  17. Hi I do not know if in the right forum but I am a leaseholder of a flat from a local authority but has now been taken over by aprivate company , i put my own double glazing in and now they are doing the double glazing themselves and i think they want to charge me for the rest of the other properties but I am sure I was told by the local authority that mine had to be like for like and my only contributions would be for the communal stairwell windows and not my own and other properties, is this right. Thanks in advance Roy
  18. I have a sorry saga to tell about a relationship between some leaseholders & “Countrywide property management” It will be interesting to hear if any members here have also been victims of these people. There have been many issues in the 20+ years we’ve had to endure their “services” but I will start with the most profound that is coming to its culmination. We had an elderly gentleman with us who owned his basement flat in our converted Victorian building. He had not lived here long till he started to complain of water ingress into his dwelling from above & below. He took up these problems (along with some other minor issues) with the management agent, “Countrywide.” As I was involved in the building industry he asked me to take a look. There appeared to be rising damp in a few places, but the most notable problem was water ingress from above in his hallway around a soil stack casing. The ceiling & plasterboard casing were soaked through & the floor was damp. He had no success in getting “Countrywide” to embrace this problem & was becoming desperate. I advised that there was no point in repairing the ceiling & replacing the floor covering until the water leak was repaired. This went on for several years until he refused to pay the “maintenance” charges until “Countrywide” remedied the issues his dwelling had, which they never did. He was taken to county court & was evicted from the flat. Not sure how the system works, but the flat ended up in the hands of the freeholder. Building work commenced & eventually the flat was put on the market & sold. The new lessee moved in, & soon afterwards he noticed water ingress as had been noted by the previous lessee. Eventually, after much correspondence “Countrywide” sent their contractors to survey the problems in the dwelling in September 2013. At this time it was also pointed out that there was a guttering leak that was forming a pool of water by the window at the back of the dwelling causing a serious damp problem inside. Also pointed out, at the front window there was a leak through the ceiling which was clearly coming from the sill above. The flat is not fit to live in. The new lessees are squeezed into one room with their belongings as everything is suffering with the damp. “Countrywide” have had several requests for clarity as to the findings of the surveys, but sadly as of 12/1/2014 the information has not been forthcoming to the new lessee or other lessees including myself, & the redial guttering/sill problems mentioned have not yet been rectified. All the lessees are now expected to pay for the damp proofing works. I will post more of Countrywides inadequacies later; their accounting systems failure is another story altogether.
  19. Hello guys. There is a thread in the legal forum asking for advice if anybody knows about this please. Here's a link. http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?404531-Lease-extension-costs!!!&p=4355610#post4355610 Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. My best, HB
  20. Hi all Im having a real struggle with the sale of a leasehold masionette I own. So I originally purchased at the value of £175k as a leasehold. As it was my first ever purchase I wasnt exactly "street wise" when it came to the buying. The leasehold currently has 71 years to run but at the time of purchase I was not informed that anything under 80 years would have serious issues when it came to either extending the lease or selling the property. Neither my financial advisor, estate agent or solicitor mentioned the potential costs (being quoted £13k to extend by 90 years!) and this has obviously come back to bite in a big way. Ive checked all the documents and not anywhere does it highlight its an issue through either solicitor of FA. Probbaly a little late in the day now but do I somehow have a case? If I do how and where do I pursue? Really feel like all three parties saw me coming, I had a big pot of inheitence to lay down but now the money from my fathers death is going to be wasted on paying an extension of a poxy leasehold! Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  21. Hi all, I'm new here so please be kind I pay a portion of a block buildings insurance policy for my leasehold maisonette. The premium is very high (£375 per unit), but until I get round to taking proper legal advice I will continue to pay it. On receipt of the latest demand, I requested a copy of the policy itself, to which I am entitled and which I have previously received. I called the managing agent, expressly said I was willing to pay, but wanted a copy of this first for my own records. The agent who deals with my property was on holiday, I was told a message would be passed on. 14 days later I had received nothing so called again and was told the same thing. On each occasion I made a note of the person I spoke to and the date. A further week or so passed and I received the policy copy. I then telephoned the agents to say I would be making payment by bank transfer within the week. I set up a payment that day to leave my bank seven days hence (today), and luckily took a printout of the payment instruction. This luckily also shows the payment was set up on 3rd July, and not today (10th) as a result of the second letter I received today, demanding the premium, along with a £120 'Initial Debt Collection Fee'. I am obviously outraged as at no point have I been unwilling to pay this charge; I've even telephoned THREE TIMES to say I would be paying it one I received a copy of the policy. I've emailed the company to say I believe this must be an oversight on their part and that this fee should be retracted, but have had no reply as yet and previous experience with this company leads me to believe they will dig their heels in and be as difficult as possible. The question therefore is, am I liable to pay this? As I understand it, only 'reasonable' administration costs can be charged. This is clearly far from reasonable in many respects, not least the fact that I have made every effort to secure the paperwork I wanted in order to pay it. On top of this, I've since discovered the director of the managing company is also an on/off director of the freeholding company. He's a piece of work so I don't want to get into a slanging match with him, but would like to know how strong my position is in refusing to pay this extra charge. Many thanks for your time...R.
  22. Been a while since I've been on here. Hope you are all still as friendly. I bought a number of ground rents about 20 years ago. Most are 999 years and some pay some don't. The rents are only nominal of a few pounds a year. The problem is on one in particular. It is vacant and getting vandalised and has been for years. I have no idea who owns it and it hasn't been sold in the last 20 years to my knowledge. The council are getting onto me as I have my name on the Land Registry as there are drug users/ dumping etc and they are clearing it up and slapping charging orders on the house. What I'd like to do is own the house. Wouldn't we all. What are my chances if I slap valid notice under section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 - the Notice of Seeking Possession? Alternatively gaining possession myself. Getting it modernised (most is superficial) and letting it out. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Cheers Steve
  23. I have had my 2 bedroom flat repossessed by Leeds Building Society. There are 3 flats in the converted house. I own 33% share in the company which owns the leasehold of the property. Can the bank sell this with the property? I want to sell it, and make some money out of it, is this possible after 14 years of owning it and investing in the property. Please advise on ways to stop the bank selling my share and how to go about selling my share.
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