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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Alex W, I need some legal guidance with respect to a

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Hello Alex W,
I need some legal guidance with respect to a lease.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I rent a small plot of land off the local council. The lease was expiring end 2014. The Council contacted us prior to the end date to to offer us a five-year lease extension. I accepted the lease extension, which I have evidence of. Subsequently, the council has been invoicing me for the rent and I have been paying (and the Council accepting payment).I have since received a letter saying that as I had not renewed my lease, I have been occupying the land without a lease and they are going to take to land back. When I spoke to the lady who sent this letter, she said I was listed as a non-responder to the lease offer and as the period in which I could have extended the existing lease has since expired, they will not grant a new lease and thus are taking back the land.
I have sent her the evidence that I requested it and that I have been paying for it, and I get the same response "we are satisfied that due process has been followed and we will be taking back the land". I have escalated this within her department and another one, and I get this response.A number of households are in this position. All of us thought that the lease extensions were enacted and have had no correspondence from the council to suggest there was a problem - in fact, the invoices for the land were taken as tacit acknowledgement of the leases by all of us.On the face of it, it looks like the Council are trying to use an admin error on their end to take back the land out of policy (it was Council policy to offer extensions). Our requests for dialogue are being dismissed under the notion of "due process has been followed".
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 11 months 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 11 months ago.
Hello - my preference is an answer please. I have been told either a property litigator or a lease specialist might be able to assist. Do you have either of those as options? Thanks.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 11 months ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.Just to be clear, was a new lease signed, or did you just reply back to the letter offering 5 years?Alex
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
We were offered the lease extension. We accepted in writing. The council then continued to send us invoices every quarter for the rent for the next 15 months. There was no communication to say that there was a problem until the letter saying they ere taking back the land because we had "chosen" not to extend our lease.
The council now says that the leases were sent out in the post, but no one received these letters (at least eleven houses are in this position). They say the letters were not sent recorded delivery, but no one from the council followed up with households (despite council policy documents stating that any non-responders would be followed up with). None of the households even knew about these additional letters until now.
The council claims that the letters were sent out and they contained a cut-of for responding, but as no responses were received they are taking the land back. A cynic might ask how so many houses never received these letters in the first place. Surely the council has a statutory duty to treat its residents reasonably?
Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.
Did they send any reminder letters, or just the lease and that's it?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Nope. No reminder letters. The only communication all these households have had from the council since we all accepted the lease extension offers are paper invoices for the rent every quarter and the council has accepted our payments. No one had any idea there was an issue until the council told us all they were taking the land back.
When we have pointed out these "lost" letters, council staff has called this "irrelevant'. When a household provided the evidence of all the attempts they made to find out from the council whether any documentation was missing, the council staff member said "well, you should have tried harder". We are now all getting the same response back "we are satisfied that due process was followed and the council position is clear: we are taking back the land".
Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.
Usually a lease or anything like that would be subject to contract. But I think given you were offered the land and the only reason are not giving it is because you didnt send it back.What you should do is write and make a formal complaint to the Chief Officer at the Council. They will investigate the complaint and come back to you.If they do not uphold the complaint then you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. They are free, independent and can examine your complaint for free. They are located at: www.lgo.org.ukHowever you may be in with a shot at Court if it gets that far. The only concern is that these things are usually subject to contract, ie signing. But a Judge may be sympathetic and say you relied on their representations to offer you a new leaseCan I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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