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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I bought my council house right to buy. Included was ground

Resolved Question:

I bought my council house right to buy. Included was ground maintenance charges for the communal area. I have since found out that the other 15 houses on the estate do not pay these charges only the leaseholders in flats. Is this right as they insist that it is.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Was it made clear when you purchased it, that it would include certain charges please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ash, the service charge was included in the sale documents and we accepted it in the belief that all the houses were sold with the same conditions. We have since found out that they were not. Even my neighbour that we have party wall with (the houses are semi detached) does not pay these charges. The charges include a management fee for housing management dept but when I have contacted them in the past they say that they cannot help as my home is freehold and there is no lease attached to the sale. Council owned houses with council tenants do not pay this charge even though they receive housing management support because they are a council tenant. It also states that I am financing the service charge team for their part in invoicing, advising leaseholders,and collecting unpaid service charges that have nothing to do with us as we do not have any form of lease. Hope you can help. Kind regards, Carol
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

Did you or your Solicitor ask if other properties paid this charge?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No we accepted it as part of the sale
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

Ok - its a mixture of news. You or your Solicitor should have asked. The council may well argue that by buying the property you accepted the terms and conditions of it, which includes the charges.

However you could write to the Chief Officer of the Council and make a formal complaint. That department will investigate the matter for you and decide whether to uphold it or not.

If they do not, then you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. They consider complaints from Councils, offer a free, independent service. Their website is: www.lgo.org.uk

Or you can consider a Judicial Review. This is where the Court reviews the decision of the Council and sees whether it is legal and reasonable.

A Court can either agree with the decision or send it back to the Council to consider again.

More information about Judicial Review can be found here:

https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/courts/administrative-court/applying-for-judicial-review.pdf

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Many thanks for your advice. You have been very helpful in this matter and I will now contact the council. Kind regards, Carol
Expert:  Ash replied 4 months ago.

All the best Carol. If this answers your question could I invite you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site doesn’t pay me for the time spent with you. Thanks in advance and good luck.

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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