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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25937
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a Lease hold property and the freeholder is not maintaining

Resolved Question:

I have a Lease hold property and the freeholder is not maintaining the building despite being paid regular service charges. I have been trying to sell the property and it has failed on Surveys due to problems with the roof.
He has been trying to gain access to my flat without my permission through the Estate Agent.
He is also not answering my queries re extending the lease ( there is 89yrs left)
I have been paying the maintenance company £95 a quarter for the last 11 years.
The original Lease ( that I have got through the land registry) is between me and the previous owner and not between me and the current owner despite me asking for a copy.
I have asked for copies of invoices of repairs that he has said he made to the roof, but have not received any.
Where so I stand legally please as I need to sell the property quickly.
thank you
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 ask how many other flats there are in the building please and whether you have discussed the issues with any other flat owner?Does the landlord also live in the property?Finally is the property a purpose built block or is it a conversion into flats from originally a house?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello

There are 9 other flats in the building at least one of which is owned by the current freeholder.

I have been renting the property out so do not know any of the other owners and most of the flats are rented out, so have not discussed although number 9 was also unable to sell due to the surveys and I believe a complaint has been made.

He does not live at the property but owns number 8. It is a conversion, an old Victorian school.

Many thanks

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the above. There are a number of legal rights you ave against the landlord but how you choose to proceed will in part at least be dictated by your priorities. If selling the flat is your overriding objective then you should be able to sell with the use of an indemnity policy for absent landlord if the landlord is refusing to answer communications. The disadvantage is that there may be some give in respect of the purchase price you can command in these circumstances. Therefore you may prefer to take action against the landlord first to regularise the position so as to maximie your selling price but this will result in some delay before you can sell. Therefore this is the first decision you will need to take which will be dicated in part by the urgency of your need to sell. As follows, you have a number of avenues of redress against the landlord but all share a common feature which is that they will take some months to resolve themselves if the landlord refses to cooperate. Assuming the landlord does not live in the building, if you can gain the support of at least 50% of the other leaseholders including you, you could exercise your statutory right to take over management of the building from the landlord. This is a statutory right whereby all management and repair functions are transferred to a newly constituted right to manage company of which you are eligible to be a director along with any other leasehold owners. This can be a very effective way of taking non-responsive landlords out of the loop and allowing direct control the management of the building yourselves as tenants. Of course it creates some administrative work which at least one if not a number of the flat owners have to take on or appoint an agent for but it gives a large amount of control to the leaseholders away from the landlord.As above, you would need at least 50% overall of leaseholders to join together in order to exercise your right because you need 50% or more of the leaseholders in order to lawfully exercise your rights under the legislation. You can trace other owners details by obtaining title entries for the other leasehold flats here for £3 per property:https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/wps/portal/Property_SearchThe alternative approach is to hold the existing landlord to account. You can do so initially by serving notice on the landlord that he is in breach of his repair covenants under the lease and setting out a schedule for the various issues you have identified as requiring attention. You can ask that the landlord submits substantive proposals for dealing with the issues within 10 days failing which you reserve the right to make an application to the County court for an order that he does so. You can make such an application using the following form:http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=424 You can also claim back any unused service charges you have paid from the landlord by making an application to a Property Tribunal using the following form. The landlord cannot profit from service charges and will need to be able to account for all of the service chagres received which from what you say he will not be able to do or he will be ordered to repay them:http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/leasehold-003-eng.docI 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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