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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25974
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have bought my house freehold from the housing association

Resolved Question:

I have bought my house freehold from the housing association under the right to buy, they have said i have to pay a service charge for garden areas on the estate. Having spoken to other house owners in my street that bought their houses from the council before the housing association took over the propertys they tell me they don't pay this charge. My argument is this is an unfair charge, either everyone pays or no one pays, how do i stand. Many thanks Ray
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I confirm if you have your own private garden please? If so I assume that the charges do not relate to this part but only communal garden areas?Did you use a solicitor in your purchase? Did he advise you of the charge?Have you confirmed the liability to pay a charge for the garden areas? If it exists, it will be in the form of a rent charge provision in your transfer deed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes i have my own garden, some of the garden areas they

Charging for are for gardens that are at the rear of some flats

which is behind locked gates

Yes i did use a solicitor but they never told me about this

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Have you seen a copy of the transfer deed that allegedly contains the rent charge the council claim you are liable to pay under or do you just have the councils word for it? Did you expect to be able to use the communal gardens in addition to your own? If you did may I ask on what basis you expected to be able to use them - was it confirmed that you would be able to?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No i haven't seen this on the transfer deeds it wasn't untill i received a letter from the housing association that i knew i had to pay. Yes i do expect to enjoy these areas if i pay for them

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. the starting point is that if you have purchased the freehold of your property, you are not liable to pay any third party including the housing association any money for the use of your property nor the rights you enjoy with your property (excepting taxes such as council tax). The only way in which the housing association can extract payment from you is if a rent charge was included in the transfer of the property. The rent charges a provision which registers against your title that provides for a payment to be made. the payment can be for almost any issue one can imagine but normally, when charges are used to secure payment towards the upkeep of communal areas on a private estate. As to whether some houses pay and others do not, this is not a basis on which you can avoid payment if a rent charge exists. I agree with you wholly that it would seem unfair of this is the case but unfair or not, it is not a legal basis of defence against payment if a rent charge does exist, however, this may not be entirely relevant given what follows. The first step therefore is to ascertain whether your title contains a rent charge or not. you could in the first instance ask the housing association for evidence of a rent charge for your property. Alternatively, you could ask your solicitor to confirm. it is also possible to obtain a copy of your title from the land registry for a nominal fee of £3 per document but your solicitor will already have all your title documents as should the HA so there is little point paying more money for what you can obtain without cost. If there is no rent charge, the housing association have no right to demand any money. If there is a rent charge present, then your solicitor should have advised you of the existence of the rent charge and explained the extent of your liability under it. if the solicitor did not explain that a rent charge existed and that you may be required to pay monies under it, the solicitor may be liable to pay compensation to you to compensate you for the various monies that you may have to pay under the rent charge now and in the future. If you find this is the case, and you are liable to pay monies to the housing association, you may need to consider a formal complaint to your solicitor and if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can refer the matter free of charge to the legal ombudsman service which can independently review the matter and awarded compensation if it finds in your favour. The decision of the ombudsman is binding upon the solicitor though it is not on you.http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/helping-the-public/#making-complaint I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
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