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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Can I legally request funds be earmarked in respect of current

Resolved Question:

Can I legally request funds be earmarked in respect of current ground rent as there are arrears which are in dispute and I want to ensure funds paid for current ground rent are set against current ground rent due on 1st March 2014. Thank you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask the nature of the dispute please? Have correct ground rent invoices not been submitted fore previous ground rent?

Customer:

Managing Agents failed to advise the ground rent had been increased in June 2012 and we were advised in August 2013. After lengthy correspondence they have at last admitted it was their error and new Managing Agents have been appointed by the Landlord who are affiliated to their company. That said, a number of residents (it is a retirement development for the over 60s) a number of whom are very elderly and have difficulty grasping the situation. I am secretary of the Residents Association and have been dealing collectively with residents correspondence regarding the ground rent 'debacle'. The reason I've raised the question is that one of the resident's son's rang to pay current ground rent over the phone only to be told if would be set against the ground rent arrears which is under dispute, which would result in the current ground rent being in arrears which is not in dispute and I wonder if the Company are using this as a means of collecting the arrears. That said, a meeting is due to be held on Fri 7th March with local MP and representatives from the Managing Agents. Furthermore, a number of residents have been notified in writing that they have a NIL balance, others have received credits (new residents) who had never paid ground rent in the first instance, but who were served with an arrears notice and following subsequent letters from me, having obtained residents permission in writing to act on their behalf, their ground rent accounts were credited. Other residents have been asked to pay the arrears and the letters were delivered five days before Christmas so you can imagine the anxiety caused. I received the threat of debt collectors via a letter and charged £48 in respect of this but I was the only resident to receive this threatening letter which MP says tantamount to harassment. Hope his helps or would it be easier to speak with me 0208(NNN) NNN-NNNN thank you Jo Rochford

Joshua :

thank you. You know what the mechanism is in the lease for increasing the ground rent? Does the rent increase prescribed amounts at certain intervals in the lease or does the landlord have to go through a specific procedure in order to increase the ground rent which they have failed to comply with? Has an application been lodged with the leasehold tribunal or has the matter not gone this far yet?

Customer:

Yes increase due after 23 years which we have not disputed. The dispute is at their incompetence and the fact that we pay a large sum to the Managing Agents and they did not act in our best interest.. They blamed the landlord for not advising them and he in turn blamed them and subsequently took collection of ground rents away from the company, namely Peverel, who you may well have heard of. They then doubled our GR from £300 to £600 approx. which we are not disputing just the arrears. My stand on this is the fact that they are not charging some residents, crediting others, and threatening to sue me! Can they legally take a cheque payment for current GR or can they legally place it against the arrears under that's the crux of the matter. Will it suffice if I put a covering letter with cheque I have collected to say they are to be earmarked for current year's ground rent?

Joshua :

In deed I have had the pleasure of Peverel on many occasions. you can specify precisely what debt cheque is in payment of. If you specify that a ground rent cheque is in payment of a specific ground rent period then this is the basis upon which that payment is made and if the cheque is accepted it also constitutes acceptance of the condition in which it is paid

Joshua :

accordingly, if an attempt is made to charge further late payment or other administrative fees for further late payment of ground rent on the basis they ignore your condition and apply cheque in payment of arrears, would be a basis to dispute such a claim. In addition, if you send them a cheque payment of a specific ground rent period and they refuse to accept payment on the basis of your condition as they happen to the individual who telephoned to make payment, then again the would be a basis to dispute any late payment charges they attempt to levy as you can point to the fact that payment has been offered

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Customer:

Many thanks for your prompt assistance, which is much appreciated.

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