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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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Are tenants liable to pay ground rent and estate charges when

Resolved Question:

Are tenants liable to pay ground rent and estate charges when they rent a property?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, welcome to the website. My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.

tdlawyer :

No, they are not, not unless the tenancy agreement says that they must. This is very rare indeed, and I don't think I've ever seen one that says that!

Customer:

My landlord has sent me a message via email contained therein a request to pay ground rent and service charges for new build estate of house.

tdlawyer :

whats in your tenancy agreement?

Customer:

Original start of the AST was 3 Sep 2013 and in the last six months no such request has been made, however now that it is becoming a periodic tenancy or subject to renewal he is asking for these charges but I am unable to find any provision within the Housing Act 1988 that it says that I must.

tdlawyer :

There is no obligation to pay this just because it's a periodic tenancy. You continue on EXACTLY the same terms.

Customer:

Unless it is in the ast agreement?

tdlawyer :

Correct, yes.

Customer:

If it is it would have been an oversight by me and he failed to mention it as well.

Customer:

And did not make a request for it in the last 6 months so why now.

Customer:

I am also not in posession of the prescribed information regarding my deposit

tdlawyer :

Its not likely to be in the AST agreement. You are not likely to be liable for this at all.

tdlawyer :

Is there anything else you want to ask me?

Customer:

IF it is in the AST, is there anything I can do about it? And, I have not received my prescribed information for my tenancy deposit within the last 6 months.

tdlawyer :

You just continue paying what you always paid.

Customer:

I believe it exceeds the provision set out by the localism act which gives 30 days

tdlawyer :

As for tenancy deposit, has this been protected properly?

Customer:

I am unaware of the protection put in place as it is his responsibility to provide me with the particulars I believe, correct?

tdlawyer :

Yes, it is, and the same penalties apply if he fails to do that, even if he has protected it.

tdlawyer :

Do you know what the penalties are?

Customer:

1-3 times the deposit?

tdlawyer :

Yes, spot on.

tdlawyer :

You could point that out to him.

Customer:

In short, the likelihood of the AST containing a clause regarding "Ground Rent" and "Estate Service Charges" are not high. Should it be in the contract, it would be most peculiar but I would be liable to pay these charges even though he has not asked for these in the last six months. And the deposit matter should most certainly be pointed out to him?

tdlawyer :

Agreed, that is correct. It's a good summary.

Customer:

Thank you for your help, armed with that information and the bargaining chip regarding the deposit I can confront him now.

tdlawyer :

No problem, I hope you get the outcome you're looking for!

Customer:

I have just fished out the contract

tdlawyer :

Ok.

Customer:

Hi, I have not been able to find any clause, provision or section relating the subject of "Ground Rent" or any similar charges which would render me liable.

Customer:

Does this mean that the landlord's request is wholly unreasonable?

Customer:

May I send you a paraphrase of the message I have received for your thoughts?

Customer:

For your review,


"Just to confirm, the tenancy is due to expire on 3rd March and you have confirmed that you would like an extension. I happy to grant an extension of the tenancy for a further 6 months and I shall not increase the rent for this extension period. However, do propose to pass on the Estate Service Charge and Ground Rent for the Estate. This is by no means onerous and I will pro-rata for your tenancy. The Estate Service Charge is approx £60 for 6 months and the Ground Rent is approx £100. I will share the invoices with you and the payments go straight to the management company. In the rush of settling you original tenancy, I decided to assume this cost myself but I would like to pass this cost to you in any renewal (as is the case with all tenants in the Parkside Estate)."


 

Customer:

I would like to know if this reasonable, lawful or otherwise given that the existing contract does not contain any provision for these charges and he is proposing to renew the AST rather than to make it periodic.

Customer:

When I alert him to the deposit breach, he may put it in a scheme upon renewing the AST but will he avoid liability that way or would he still be liable for a penalty in relation to the "old" contract?

Customer:

Please advise

tdlawyer :

Nonsense - no obligation to pay it unless in the agreement. Pure and simple.

tdlawyer :

The penalty still applies even if he protects now.

Customer:

What if he brings a new contract on Monday with this provision?

tdlawyer :

UP to you whether you sign it.

tdlawyer :

If you do - you pay. If not, you continue on the periodic tenancy unless and until he terminates you.

Customer:

If I refuse to sign it he will have an option to terminate me...

Customer:

Kinda win win for him, isn't it?

tdlawyer :

He always had the option to give you 2 months notice after the minimum term.

Customer:

That is understood, however I would not prefer to move my entire home.

tdlawyer :

Then that's the choice I'm afraid. Equally, though, will other potential tenants really pay the charges he is asking for even if he makes you leave .... I doubt it?

Customer:

I believe he is aware of these matters and therefore would like to renew the contract to potentially include the provision for this. So it is like he has cornered me.

Customer:

I either pay the charges or face a section 21

Customer:

In short, there is no legal protection from this as he is manoeuvring the situation in his favour.

tdlawyer :

It's a negotiation thing I guess, but you do have a decent hand - you have the penalty you could agree to waive if he, for example, gave you another minimum 24 months (perhaps) at same rent as now?

Customer:

Ha! Indeed...the deposit breach.

Customer:

But on a prima facie basis, the email message received is nonsense based on the current particulars?

tdlawyer :

Yes :)

tdlawyer :

Is there anything more you need from me, I have to shoot off in a mo.

Customer:

No, that will be all. Thank you for your assistance.

Customer:

Have a great weekend!

tdlawyer :

You too - have a good one!

tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience: 11 years experience of general practice.
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