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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3775
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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My property has a covenant on the Deeds requiring me to pay

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My property has a covenant on the Deeds requiring me to pay a ground maintenance fee. Whilst i have no problem with this the previous owners of this property have run up a debt for non payment. The management company for the maintenance, despite not being able to produce the outstanding invoices, insist that this debt is attached to the property and that I am liable to pay this amount (£270) can you advise if this is the case.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
How old is the debt? Has a demand been made to you directly in writing?
When did you buy the property? Did the old owner say to you in the contract of sale for the property that the service charge and ground rent was up to date?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1. Not known management company has not/cannot supply original invoices for this debt
2. A demand for this amount has been made in writng
3. Not known house has been owned by me for 7 years
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The management believe the debt attaches to the property.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
They are correct that the debt can follow the property, but this is subject to the following caveats:
- If the original demand for the debt was made to the previous owner then they should not be transferring it to you. It should only be your problem if they had not invoiced it and it is an arrears on the account that they are demanding for the first time;
- If this is the first time they have demanded it in over 6 years, they may be statute barred from claiming it under the Limitations Act 1980.
Are they threatening you with a court claim?
Kind regards
AJ
P.S http://www.lease-advice.org/ - I would note you can obtain free advice from this Government service on a lease matters in the future.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No They are not threating court action at this point. What is the time limitation on this debt ?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The Property is freehold with a covenant.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
The time limit on the face of it should be six years. Unless they can prove this was created under a deed, which I suspect is probably not possible.
If it is a debt arising from a covenant, then this is a burden that follows the land.
What year does the debt actually relate to? Why have they waited 7 years to raise it?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Again the age of the debt is not known as the current management company cannot supply invoices or proof of this debt. Reading between the lines I believe. The management company has changed and this is a transferred accounting debt they have attached to the account for the property. Despite repeated requests for sight the invoices issued they have not responded except with more demands. I was wondering if I should ask for a detail summary of the services supplied that have been supplied to accrue this debt. Presumably they are legally bound to supply this information.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
It is a criminal offence under S.40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 for the a debt they do not owe. Essentially yes if they cannot prove you owe it they should not be chasing you for it.
Further more if they wanted to sue you for it in the county court, they would need to prove the debt was incurred. If they cannot show, when, why or how it was incurred or what period it relates to they would have difficulty in getting a court order for it.
I would write to them and say:
(i) They have supplied no evidence as to the validity of the debt;
(ii) they cannot prove what it relates;
(iii) Essentially they are pursuing you for a debt that has never been incurred.
Tell them to stop chasing you and confirm in writing that they will not chase you for it again, or you will report them to Trading Standards.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks AJ