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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I own a leasehold apartment on a 125 yr lease. The property

Customer Question

I own a leasehold apartment on a 125 yr lease. The property was built in 2003 by Bellway. The developer was also the freeholder & we paid ground rent to them. After 3 years the developer sold the freehold to another company without first offering it to the tenants. I understood this to be in breach of the law. Bellway first span off the freeholding company from Bellway (Midlands) Ltd to Bellway (Yorkshire) Ltd, Bellway (Yorkshire) Ltd, which is not the developer, but only the freeholding company was sold to Faihold (Yorkshire) Ltd, one of the Tchenguiz brothers companies. I was made redundant 2 years ago and have struggled to pay my £160 pa ground rent. I had requested it be added to my mortgage which is the convention in such circumstances. Howwever despite a letter from them last month saying I owed them £675 plus legal fees of £267, I have now received a summons demanding £1,429 for what would be a £320 debt. My question is (a) was their aquisition of the freehold legal and (b) surely there must be a cap on what can be charged to recover a debt. To charge £1,100 on a £320 debt seems excesive. Could I challenge such fees or is there any acceptable scale of charges. If the amount claimed last month was £942 (£675+£267) I cannot understan how it has jumped to £1,429 when the Court fee is only £80. Furthermore they threaten that if I do not pay the £1,429 then they will add further charges. I cannot understand why they want to gain a CCJ when they could have got the money from my mortgage company. That is what they will eventually do anyway, so the Court action seems just a ruse to gain more costs.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No problem. Are you in the UK ? I note that the time zone is quoted in EST ?

I have until Tuesday to send an acknowledgement of service (online) and I will request a further 14 days plus a jurisdiction transfer.

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I am indeed in the UK.
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I apologise as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Do you think you are likely to get a response ?

I've requested an extension plus change of jurisdiction. so I have a little time but not forever.

What happened to the barrister whose name originally was assigned to my query ?

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I do apologise for the late response - I did not get notification of your message.
The site automatically assigns likely Experts based on category, however when Experts read the full question they may find it is not in their specific areas of expertise.
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you,
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I've recently discovered that my mortgage company (C&G) advised me the freeholder had applied to them for payment on May 30th. C&G advised that if I didn't pay within 21 days that they would pay the freeholder. So the freeholder knew that payment was being processed when they issued the summons on 12th June. It appears that issuing a summons in such circumstances is purely vexatious and a cynical attempt to inflate their charges. Their request to C&G was for £675, yet whilst the payment was being processed by C&G they issued a summons claiming £1,429 of which only £80 is the Court fee. This seems a hugely inflated claim and one which should never have been issued. The claimant's representative is a firm employing 550 lawyers, they would certainly know that the convention is for the mortgage company to pay the ground rent charges (adding the cost to the mortgage) or risk forfeiting the lease. By issuing a summons they are simply piling debt onto debt unnecessarily: The recent Crown v WONGA case springs to mind

Any comments or advice would be welcomed.

Regards

Philip Richards

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I apologise as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I think I have waited long enough without any action. Please refund my fee

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