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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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Does a landlord have the right to break into my leasehold

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Does a landlord have the right to break into my leasehold garage (999 year lease), which is under a coach house, if I refuse him access? The lease states to allow an inspection twice a year, but, he is trying to get me to rectify a 'breach' (installation of electrics) which occurred before I bought in 2002 and a second 'breach' (installation of an electric garage door) which occurred in January 2005. The demised premises is from and including the foundations joists timbers and all parts below the floor of the flat above. And, I have a covenant to keep in good and substantial repair all parts of the demised premises. Also he states that the ceiling is actually his floor.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

For now please let me know whether the landlord knew about the 'breach' in 2002?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The current landlord has only been in possession of the freehold since october 2014. The previous freeholder never collected ground rent or carried out inspections and I don't know if he ever knew about the breach, he certainly never mentioned it, I don't know when it occurred prior to my ownership in 2002. I had the automated garage door fitted on 18th January 2005.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

But the old Landlord new that you had an automated door?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I can't say for definite. It's not like I can hide it. If he did he never complained about anything, never collected the £1 a year ground rent or asked for any inspections. Unfortunately the old landlord died which is why the flat was sold almost 2 years ago. The current landlord has on a couple of occasions remarked on how quiet the door is when it is being opened or closed. This all came about because after saying he wasn't going to collect the ground rent he then decided he was but didn't demand it in the correct manner which I asked him to do. Since then he has been trying to find one thing after another to find at fault and is breach of lease himself. I have since, on advice, paid last years and this years ground rent and have proof.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

Does the agreement allow for inspection on breach?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I think so, it was written in 1977 and in legalese. The current landlord carried out an inspection in December last year and decided to disconnect and disengage the garage door along with a few other pedantic suggestions. One of these was that as part of the framework of the garage door was attached to the ceiling I was interfering with the floor of the flat above. He then tried to serve a Section 146 on me. As there were no prescribed notices included a solicitor deemed it was invalid but advised me to issue a Counter-Notice under the Leasehold Property (Repairs) Act 1938, which I did. About a month later he withdrew the Section 146, deeming it excessive, and issued a Notice to Effect, which was identical to the Section 146 with a different title. I have never formally withdrawn the Counter-Notice. We then had a face to face meeting in April where it was apparent to me that his idea of compromise is it has to be done his way. I have been given indication that as the 'breach' was a one-off then under the Limitations Act 1980 he is out of time to take action as it is longer than 12 years ago (for the electrical installation) and almost out of time for the garage door as it was 11 years and 8 months ago but as I have a repair covenant then I can improve as long as it is not excessive.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

What is it you want to acheve?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Well, I would like the freeholder to accept that the Limitations Act overrides the alleged breach for starters. He refuses to accept that it even exists. I would also like compensation for the damage to the pedestrian door (from when he broke in). He now believes that the frame is part of the freehold, yet the lease states 'all parts below the floor of the flat above'. I have ordered a replacement security door (in steel, at a cost of £699). He has cost me a fortune in solicitors fees so far. I have had the electrics professionally tested but he is only offering temporary installation. As they have been there for so long, can he do this? I just want him to leave us in peace, without interruption, as is covenanted in the lease. Does my Counter-Notice still stand? If it does I can use it as part of the negotiations. This has been going on for all of this year so far, he wishes to keep it out of court, as I do but I have a crime reference number against him, although he reckons I assaulted him, which is untrue as 5 witnesses were around and they all say that I never touched him. We had lived in peace for over 13 years prior to his ownership of the flat. Ever since then he believes he has the rights of a Lord of the Manor. It is not just me who has had issues with him. He has told people they can't park outside of their own homes even though it is not his land and it doesn't affect his access. The worst of it is though is that he doesn't even live on the estate, he rents out his flat to a tenant.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

Yes, limitation can only be overcome by fraud. Its been there for so long he cant just come in and damage the property.

You need to write and set out your losses and request compensation within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not compensate you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Can you clarify whether my Counter-Notice is still valid? Do I have to accept mediation? I have been told that it will cost upwards of £3000, as I have already spent over £1200 on solicitors I would like to curb any further costs. Does it mean that the Limitations Act wipes out the breach? And, does it need a Deed of Variation? In case we want to sell in the future. As the damaged door is made of wood and I wish to replace it with a steel security door, to keep the landlord out as well as for genuine security, I can't justify that he pays the entire cost. Could I get him to pay half or would £200 be sufficient.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

Yes your counter notice is till valid. No you do not have to accept mediation.

If its a small claim then they and you cant claim costs. Limitation Act wipes out breach yes.

You could seek for half, yes. Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
thank you. Most helpful. I will write a list of costs, minus solicitors fees, and put this to him as part of the negotiations. I will then tell him that if he refuses to re-imburse me then I will have no option than to take him to a small claims court. You've been most helpful and re-clarified a lot of what I had previously researched. Thanks once again.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 6 months ago.

All the best. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site does not pay me for the time spent with you today. Thank you in advance and good luck!

Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2553
Experience: Solicitor
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