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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10543
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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Have received a service charge demand for £414 which

Resolved Question:

Have received a service charge demand for £414 which includes an "Insurance Valuation" of £180 The property is already insured at my expense. This is the first time in 33 years that I have been asked to pay a service charge.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 month ago.

Hi,

Thanks for your enquiry.

Do you live in a maisonette or is it a block of flats?

Do you happen to have a copy of your Lease to hand?

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I live on the ground floor of a terraced house that was converted into two dwellings in 1983.
Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the Lease.
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 month ago.

Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

Well, the starting point has to be your Lease. if the Lease stipulates that the Freeholder is responsible for insuring the building, then I am afraid the insurance charge is payable, despite the fact that you have previously arranged your own insurance.

For £3, I can obtain a copy of your Lease from the Land Registry. I am happy to do this for you, provided you can confirm that you will rate my answer (I only get paid once a customer rates my answer positively).

If you are happy to confirm this, please let me have your address and I can obtain a copy of the Lease.

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Insurance is through Tyser & Co. Ltd. on the instruction of the freeholder.
Please obtain a copy of the Lease for me. I confirm that I will rate your answer. My address is : 31 B Carnarvon Road, Stratford, London, E15 4JW.
The demand is dated 14 August and requires payment in full within 14 days of the date of the letter (which I received on
17 August). As I am a pensioner, finding £414 "out of the blue" may be a problem.
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 month ago.

Hi, thanks. Please give me a good few minutes and I will come back to you.

Kind Regards

Al

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 month ago.

Hi,

I have just looked on the Land Registry website, and it shows that the Freehold is comprised of number 31, 31a and 31b.

The records show that the Land Registry only hold copies of the Leases for 31 and 31a.

It would therefore appear that the Lease for 31b is not registered at the Land Registry, which would be the case if you had purchased the property a lengthy time ago.

Could you confirm when you purchased aswell as confirming if the building does indeed consist of 3 dwellings- ie 31, 31a and 31b?

Kind Regards

Al

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The house itself was***** Since 1983 it has comprised two dwellings - 31A and 31B. It has never consisted of three dwellings, so far as I know. I completed purchase of 31B (Leasehold) on 22 September 1983 and have never been asked for anything other than the Ground Rent until now.I'm not sure if this is relevant but the last invoice from Tysers contains the following - "Insured parties : West Lancashire Investments Limited & The Lessees of 31a & 31b -Carnarvon Road - Flat 31b".
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 month ago.

Thanks. I will come back to you shortly.

Kind Regards

Al

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 month ago.

Hi,

I have now obtained a copy of the Lease from the Land Registry.

I am glad to say that the Lease is quite clear that YOU are responsible for insuring the property, and only if you do to insure, can the Freeholder then arrange insurance themselves and bill you accordingly. So, you are under no duty to pay this insurance charge of £180.

The Lease also stipulates that you are responsible for paying half towards any maintenance work carried out to the main structure/communal areas/foundations/roof/any fence dividing the 2 gardens. So, if the Freeholder has indeed carried out any such repairs, you are responsible for paying the one half share, with your neighbour paying the other half.

You are of course also responsible for paying the yearly ground rent which is currently £75

(the Lease began in 1983 and the rent was £50 for the first 33 years, which would take you to 2016, and for the next 33 years it is £75).

I hope this assists and sets out the legal position.

If so, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer in the top right hand corner of your screen.

Kind Regards

Al

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