Ask a Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I confirm with you whether you own your leasehold flat please or whether you rent it as a housing association property please?
We own our flat
Thank you. Typically in such situations your lease will provide that you must pay service charge for upkeep of the common parts of the estate. The lease would also typically provide that the landlord is responsible for maintaining the common parts of the estate as well as the structure of buildings with costs to be paid by the individual leaseholders proportionately from service charge.
Some landlords collect service charge to include an additional sum to develop a sinking fund for major works projuects to avoid having to demand unpleasant additinal sums from residents for major works. Others do not maintain a sinking fund and any major works may therefore lead to a one off additional demand for additional service charge that year.
If the paths you refer to are not part of the common parts serving the flat then you should not be liable for the same however. The positino will be made clear in your lease if you are in any doubt
We all pay a monthly service charge which part of goes into our sinking fund, surely pathways inparticular come under health and safety and therefore should be paid by our leasehold landlord Housing 21
Health and safety laws do govern pathway maintenance in terms of minimum maintenance as you quite correctly say however this truth does not mean that the Housing Association cannot charge the residents for repairs if your lease provides for this. The key is your lease. If it provides that the paths in question are common parts of the private estate serving your flat then it is likely that the lease will include provisions that the leaseholders are responsible for the cost of upkeep. If conversely the paths are not part of the private common parts but rather for example are public pathways then the landowner of those paths or the council could be responsible instead.
You are likely to know whether the paths are part of the common parts of the development from your own knowledge but for the avoidance of any doubt one needs to consult your lease. This will contain a plan showing the extent of private common parts for the leaseholders are liable.
You may already have a copy; if not your solicitors should have a copy or if all else fails, the Land Registry can provide a copy for a nominal fee.
If the pathways are part of the private common parts as above, most residential leases would provide that the landlord has an obligation to maintain and as you say comply with health and safety regulations, but that he can recover the cost from the leaseholders.
A pleasure. If you are able to obtain a copy of your lease I would be very happy to look at it for you to confirm the position for certain.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you for now?