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Freehold / Lease repair dispute

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  • Freehold / Lease repair dispute

    I live in the top half of a converted house, which has a split freehold – off which I own half. Both flats have a lease with clear statements on what is expected of the lease holders, this includes the clause that the building should be repainted and in a fit condition etc.,

    The problem I have is that the roof is in a poor condition, it needs to be replaced, but the lower flat is owned as a rental investment and the owner is not returning calls, letters or emails anymore as we need to agree to divide the costs and get the work done. This process has been going on for over 12 months – I assume there is a legal process to compel both parties to act in good faith to the lease and the freehold obligations – but I am unsure of the best way forward as the owner of the other flat has emailed me in the past to say in principle he was happy to pay half subject to the price being reasonable?

    I now feel stuck as I am doing all the chasing of the quotes and him, anyone come across this before and have any suggestions of the best way forward, plus if anyone knows of a good legal person in this area I could employee I would be grateful – I am based in North London.

  • #2
    Freehold/ Lease repair dispute

    I am a leaseholder of a flat, situated in a small block of flats (a converted house).

    Parts of the roof and wall are leaking badly allowing huge amounts of water into my flat and the flat below.

    The lease states that the lessor/ freeholder is responsible for the repair and maintenance of all areas and things used in common with other leaseholder(s) and the freehold, such as roofs, gutters, external walls, foundations, drains, etc…. and the cost is to be shared between all leaseholders.

    For years, me and my neighbours phoned and sent numerous letters, emails, to the lessor and their managing agents, but they completely ignored it. After many years, they finally responded saying this is not their problem and it is my sole responsibility to deal with it.

    I’ve applied to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for a determination but they replied saying they have no jurisdiction to determine the rights and obligations of parties to a lease. The repair will be expensive and could cost more than £10,000.00. Like my colleague damianjcos I need to someone to give me some guidance on how best to make the freehold meets his obligations under the lease?

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    • #3
      I suggest each of you takes a look at the Leasehold Advisory Service's website at The Leasehold Advisory Service - Homepage - that should give you a good idea of what to do in your specific circumstances

      Neal - If the lease states it is the freeholder's responsibility to do the work and recover the costs from the leaseholders, then I don't see how the freeholder can say it is your respensibility: ask them to explain themselves, perhaps. I'm not sure why, if the freeholder is correct, he/she/it employs managing agents - what do they do? It may be that you can get the freeholder to pass management responsibility to you and the other leaseholders (in the form of a company incorporated by you all for the purpose); he/she/it may even be prepared to transfer the freehold interest to such a company, putting you in full control

      damiankcox: It sounds as though you should already be in as much control as you can get - I assume the freehold is owned by you and the other leaseholder jointly. In those circumstances, it can be difficult to get the other half to sue himself (!) but if he has stopped responding you may want to warn him that, if he does not cooperate, you (as a leaseholder) may have to sue him (as a freeholder) for breach of what lawyers refer to as the "covenant for quiet enjoyment" - he is preventing you having the benefit of the property in accordance with the terms of the lease

      I am afraid I do not know of any particular lawyers in your area to recommend, but the Leasehold Advisory Service may be able to help
      This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum

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