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Ask Kasare Your Own Question
Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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,About two years ago I bought a property and my solicitors

Customer Question

About two years ago I bought a property and my solicitors served 42 notice to extend the lease. Freeholder didn't respond and my solicitor applied for the court hearing. C
On court the lease extension was granted and my court ordered the freeholder to cover my court expenses as well.
Freeholder refused and appealed. The new court hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. M
Two weeks ago my solicitor sent him a letter asking to withdrawn his appeal but freeholder didn't reply. My solicitors started the preparation for the court.
This morning freeholder called and said that he is agree to withdrawn. My solicitor said that because they spent 5 hours preparing for the hearing freeholder has to pay £1500. My freeholder said that he is ready to pay £1000 but I have to cover the rest.
I personally don't understand why I have to pay anything. I already pay solicitor fee but why do I have to pay any court fee if it's my freeholder fault?
My solicitor is pressing me to agree. I attached his e-mail below and hope to hear your opinion and advice whether or nor I should agree and pay.
Here is his letter:
"Dear *****
Your freeholder did not withdraw their application following our letter of 18 February. I therefore had to prepare your case for tomorrow’s hearing. I attach for your information a copy of the bundle filed at Court and with your freeholder’s solicitor yesterday. The costs schedule at pages 15 and 16 of the bundle details the costs incurred in dealing with your freeholder’s application which total £1,488.00 plus VAT.
Your freeholder’s solicitor called me this morning to say their client now wishes to withdraw their application by consent with no order as to costs. This would mean that your would have to cover this firm’s costs in connection with dealing with their application. I told your freeholder’s solicitor that I could not recommend this to you as costs would not have been incurred had their client simply withdrawn their application, or, if they not made the application at all. Your freeholder’s solicitor is therefore going to recommend their client cover £1,000 of the costs to avoid going to Court tomorrow. This leaves an outstanding balance of £488 plus VAT which you would be required to pay.
My advice is to agree to withdraw the application on these terms. By doing so you have absolute certainty that you will get a lease extension on the terms proposed. As I have previously advised, you are getting an exceptional deal in terms of the premium payable. Had your freeholder served counter Notice in accordance with the 1993 Act you would be paying considerably more in respect of the premium payable. There is a chance, if the hearing goes ahead tomorrow, that the Court will side with your landlord and allow premium negotiations to recommence. Further, given your freeholder has now asked to withdraw the application, I find it unlikely the Court would award our costs in preparing for and attending tomorrows hearing which I estimate to be £927.50 plus VAT (see the second page of the Costs Schedule on page 16 of the bundle)..."
Thank you,
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Kasare replied 3 years ago.
Hi thank you for your question, I will assist you with this.
I am afraid that the decision is yours to make. I appreciate that the freeholder has been unreasonable to date which has caused your solicitor to incur further costs in preparation, however you need to consider the risks of proceeding to the hearing which your solicitor has set out.
You opponent may lose and the court orders that he pays your costs in full - usually "to be assessed or agreed" - and if this is by agreement then in fact the costs could get higher. And if not agreed but assessed by the Court, the order for costs could be less than those actually incurred and you would still have to pay the difference.
Or, your opponent could win and then you would have to pay your costs, their costs and lose out on the extension to the least that you wanted.
It is not entirely unusual for the winning party to have to pay something towards their own legal fees if a settlement is negotiated.
Given the possible risks of litigation, I would tend to agree with your solicitor. However, perhaps you could ask the solicitor if they could take a decision on their costs and whether they would be willing to reduce their bill, either to the £1000 offered by the appellant in full and final settlement or to a more reasonable figure given the circumstances.
I hope this assists you.