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Nicola-mod
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Category: Property Law
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My stepson owns a flat. I have a copy of his lease, originally

Customer Question

My stepson owns a flat. I have a copy of his lease, originally for 99 years but now 71 years remaining. The landlord, a company, seems to be disinterested in the property in that he has never asked for ground rent or insurance. On the other hand, the company never carries out any maintenance on the property either.
Some of the window frames are now rotton and the metal staircase is becoming dangerous because of lack of maintenance. My stepson is quite happy to carry out maintenance to the stairs and replce his windows, even though the lease prohibits this. The 70+ year old did say to my stepson some years ago, just verbally, that he could do what he liked. I understand that if the company wakes up and decides to refurbish the proprty as a whole, my stepson could still be held laible for his 50% share, even though his own windows had been replaced at his own cost.
I say the landlord company are disinterested, but when my stepson remortgaged 2 years ago, they did wake up and asked for 10 years ground rent and 10 years insurance, over £3k in total. Seems to me that they could only ask for maximum of 6 years. No previous demands, notices have been sent out. The other leaseholders are in the same position. Can my stepson ask for 4 years ground rent and insurance back? Or refuse to pay the next 4 years, even though, as usual, they have not asked for it.
In fact, my stepson does not even know if the property is actually insured! The landlord is supposed to send out an insurance certificate each year, is he not. If the proprty is not insured and it burns to the ground, my stepson will have lost everything, but still have the mortgage! I suspect he could sue, but........!
Finally, what can my stepson do about buying the freehold? Or forming a management company to take over the landlords respeonsibilities?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 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 3 years ago.


Please reply.

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.

Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can Max Lowry help?

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

I am not sure if this is his area but I have passed the question to him. If he can't help we will keep looking for another professional to assist.

Thank you,
Nicola
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Still waiting for a reply!

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

I apologize 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 3 years ago.


Dont understand delay????

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

I cannot guarantee an answer time, I'm afraid.

Would you like me to keep searching or would you like us to close your question at this time?

Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


No I need an answer!

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.

Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Expert:  Max Lowry replied 3 years ago.
Hi welcome to Just Answer. I will help you with your question.

You're right that there is a risk that the management company would look to your son for his contribution notwithstanding that he had changed his windows etc. himself. And, there is also the possibility that absence permission being given in writing to do as he pleases, they may "forget" that gave verbal permission and that might lead to his lease being forfeited and/or other action for breach of the lease being taken against him.

The best thing is probably to get control of the company that manages the estate. If you get 10% of the members together to request the landlord company call a general meeting, it must call that meeting. Then, in that meeting, you can force the existing directors to step down and be replaced by other directors. This requires a majority vote of members attending and voting at that meeting. Then with the new directors in place, you should hopefully get some more pro-active control.

If this isn't possible, it may be possible to apply the leasehold valuation tribunal to appoint a professional managing agent where the existing managers (or company) are being somewhat lethargic in their exercise of their management function. You can read about how to do this here: http://www.lease-advice.org/publications/documents/document.asp?item=18
See the bit headed "THe appointment of a manager".

Hope this helps,

I hope this answers your question. If you need further information, either now or later, just let me know and I'll gladly help out.

Please do remember to rate my answer as highly as you can for me. Thank you.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Just a quick reminder, there is an unrated answer waiting for you here from the Professional.

If the Expert was helpful, rating their answer as satisfactory transfers your deposit to them – this is how the Expert is compensated. If you still need help with your question, please feel free to reply to the Expert on this question page. You may ask as many follow-up questions on the same question page as you need until you are satisfied.

Thank you,
Nicola

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