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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2437
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Lease covenants

Customer Question

In our lease (freehold property) there's a provision that floors need to be carpeted. However, for many years flats (at least 15 out of 72) have been replacing their carpets with wooden floors, without written consent by the landlord, including some directors of the Freehold Company (Landlord). We discussed the issue with the management company and they told us that the Landlord has allowed this as the flats are amenable to wooden flooring, though never put this in writing given the covenant in the lease. We changed our carpets with wooden floors ourselves but now the Landlord is starting a lawsuit against us for breaching the lease which may result in forfeiture of the lease. We are a bit shocked by this as they took this decision while other directors of the Landlord are enjoying wooden floors themselves (without having a written consent for that). we were also let to believe that the management company allows that. We had for example written to the management company that we intend to replace the carpet with wooden floors and received no response for 6 weeks. They then wrote to us saying we need to meet to review the works and to "regularise the matter". When we met they said again that despite the covenant in the lease "I'm sure we can sort it out given so many others have them for many years". About 6 months later they have now hired a lawyer who said if we don't admit that we have breached the lease they'll take us to court and our lease may be forfeited. We won't agree to this as we were misled to believe that this is allowed. Given the overwhelming evidence that this is the case for many years, at least 3 board members have them, and board meetings regularly take place in flats with wooden floors, we never suspected that this permission is not genuine and that in due course it will be regularised. Now we have been singled out and sued. My question is how strong is our defence as it's their word against our word and the evidence that others have wooden floors and peacefully enjoying them? Even if we don't have it in writing wouldn't verbal agreement be as strong as written given the evidence around? And finally, if they pursue us in court, can we start a derivative suit ourselves as we are being treated unequally to other leaseholders, especially directors of the company, who have not being asked to replace their wooden floors with a carpet. Isn't that in breach of directors obligations under the Company Act to treat shareholders/members of the company fairly and equally?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year 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 1 year ago.

I will continue to wait. Thanks

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. I'll be waiting.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
I apologise 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 1 year ago.
Please continue.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Please understand it is rare for us not to be able to find the right Professional to assist our customers. We can close this question and return your good faith deposit to the original funding source on request.
Please let me know how you wish to proceed and again I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
I hope you will give JustAnswer a try again in the future,
Nicola
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would like to continue waiting. However if you cannot answer the question would I be charged the monthly fee?
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
You can ask for a refund/cancellation of the monthly fee or question deposit at any time and we will process it for you.
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola

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