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Freeholder claiming arrears up to 6 years


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We bought a flat(to rent out) in 2012 and for 6 months our solicitors could not get hold of the freeholder, so finally gave up and declared them uncontactable. Early in 2013 the freeholder resurfaced claiming ground rent, building insurance and money for emergency works 6 back to 2007 just by sending a letter giving a summary of all alleged costs, no proper demand. We requested to see invoices, proof that relevant notices have been sent to the previous leaseholder, the freeholder's company accounts for the relevant periods, etc., but not any of those have been provided.

Then early this year they have taken us to small court, but have provided the court with the property address, and not our actual address where we reside. So following the delay in communication a CCJ was issued as we simply could not communicate with the court in time.

We have had a hearing and the judgement has been set aside.

 

So we are facing a hearing and we are unsure of how we should proceed.

 

In the meanwhile, just very recently, the freeholder sold the freehold at auction, and there were special clauses in the auction stating that whoever buys the freehold must cover for the claimed arrears as well.

 

Although the case with the old freehold is still on, would the new freeholder have any rights as to claim from us again?

 

We have seen no documental proof of expenses made, the previous leaseholder claims nothing was owed at the time of sale.

 

Not sure where to start!:|

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I know you don't live there and just rent it out. But it might be worth speaking to other flat owners to see whether they have had any issue with the freeholders. Have they ever been provided with details of the buildings insurance for the flats etc. You might not be the only one in this position and what you find out might help you.

 

Presumably you do have buildings insurance for the flats and have some details of what you are responsible for. This should be noted in the lease. What does the lease say ?

 

Does the Solicitor you dealt with have copies of the letters they sent ? See if you can get hold of copies, as they may come in handy.

 

You might have to enter into some form of negotiation as to what you are responsible for. Find out what you can and show willingness to enter into negotiations and if they want to go via the courts, you would agree to a mediated settlement.

We could do with some help from you.

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Is the freeholder the original owner of the property? ie from (new) or did he/they purchase the Ground Rent later?

Any demand for Ground Rent must comply with s47(1) & s48(1) of LL & T Act 1987.

Yes he can require GR arrears for up to last 6 yrs, even if you did not own the property then, not so sure about other bills and repairs?

Your convayancing solicitor should have flagged up possible problems with ground rent etc so perhaps one for a LVT specialist.

Whilst we do not suggest naming individuals or Companies, what can you find out about current freeholder via Google etc?

Have a look at LVT website if contemplating buying the freehold.

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The thing is that the only thing that they have sent us is a letter asking for that money. No proof that it has been spent (accounts, etc.), no proof that it has not been paid by the previous leaseholder.

 

Can they still claim as they do not own the freehold and that they have recovered the arrears from the new freeholder?

 

Thanks.

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Rule no1, no2, no3 etc Make sure you have documentary evidence of being willing to look into the issues raised and to negotiate. If you end up in court again, this will go in your favour.

 

Write back asking for information and get proof of posting from the post office counter. Point out that your Solicitors did try to gain information and they did not receive any response at all from the freeholders.

 

Meanwhile start looking into this further gathering as much info as you can.

We could do with some help from you.

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Ok, thanks.

At the time of the sale our solicitors pretty much messed it up I guess...

Just answering mariner51's question - it's an old building, which has been divided into flats at a later time. The freeholder added 2 flats at some point (adding an extra level to the side of the building), but except for these new flats, he does not own any of the flats. The leaseholder we bought from was a third person.

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Ok, thanks.

At the time of the sale our solicitors pretty much messed it up I guess...

Just answering mariner51's question - it's an old building, which has been divided into flats at a later time. The freeholder added 2 flats at some point (adding an extra level to the side of the building), but except for these new flats, he does not own any of the flats. The leaseholder we bought from was a third person.

 

You might be wise to see a Solicitor. At some stage you might want to sell the flat and it could prove to be complicated. It might be to your advantage to tackle the situation, rather than wait until some point in the future.

 

Whats happens when works needs to be done to the building, when you have mixed ownership ? This is a question that needs resolving.

We could do with some help from you.

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another one for andydd I think.

But as far I am aware the freehold MUST be offered to the existing leaseholders fist before selling to anther party? RFR.

If he has not done this he is liable to criminal prosecution!

You can also force the new FH to sell to you, if you wish to buy!

Sounds like a whole can of worms and you should take legal advice

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