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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10701
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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I bought a flat two years ago. As part of the sales

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I bought a flat two years ago. As part of the sales contract, the vendor agreed to clear all outstanding debt on the property. However, the local council has informed me that debts related to prior section 20 notices were not settled and they are pursuing recovery from me. I have no way of contacting the vendor and have no forwarding address. Am I liable to settle the debt or is it the responsibility of the council to pursue the previous owner?

Hi, I am afraid that legally, you, as the owner of the Leasehold interest are responsible for any outstanding service charge or ground rent and the Freeholder is entitled to seek payment from you, even if your Seller had agreed to clear the debt and was the owner at the time these s20 works were carried out. If your Seller agreed to clear this debt and this was agreed via the Solicitors at the time, all I can suggest is that you go back to your Solicitor and get his view on this subject- I don't know exactly what was agreed at the time of your purchase, but if the arrears were discussed by the Solicitors and the amount of arrears of service charge were known, then your Solicitor should have obtained an assurance from the Seller's Solicitor that these arrears would be cleared on completion.

I hope this assists and sets out the general legal position.

If I have answered your question, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer in the top right hand corner of your screen. I will then happily answer any follow up question free of charge. Kind Regards Al

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