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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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25 years ago I bought my house on a private estate. I was

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25 years ago I bought my house on a private estate.
I was told by my solicitor that any payments I might wish to make for the roads etc
were voluntary.
I received a letter once a year for 15 years for a voluntary amount equal to others on the Estate who had to make payments under their agreements with the Estate management committee.
Not wishing to avoid paying my way in life I paid those voluntary payment requests.
10 years ago the Estate committee changed hands and a company, acting on their behalf, sent me an invoice saying payment due.
I contacted them and said "there must be a mistake as my payments are voluntary so please send a request for a voluntary payment and I would make one, cancel the invoice and send a statement showing I owe nothing.."
They said no, you are contracted to pay, you must pay and if you don't pay we'll take proceedings against you.
This has continued for the last 10 years ! They have made more and more threats, sending statements showing I owe more money every year. I keep repeating cancel the invoices, show I owe nothing and I will resume paying voluntary amounts or take me to court - they never do.
I have asked for a copy of the "contract" that gives them the right to invoice me and a year ago they said it was my deeds.
Having done a lot of research the deeds contain unenforceable positive covenants written to bind the original seller and purchaser in the 1930's. There is no chain of indemnity.
The rate set would be 70p a year even if enforceable.
I know about "Benefit and Burden" and I know it has been slightly modified with a few caveats.
A month ago they finally sent me my first legal letter from a solicitor.
My objective is to bring an end to this. I want to know what I can do to force them to stop invoicing me and get a statement out of them showing I own nothing. I thought it was illegal to invoice and threaten people when you don't have a contract ? harassment ? False accounting ? etc
My attempt at a reply is below ( NOT SENT YET )
"Thank you for your solicitors letter reference IPO/KM/WIL3305-1.
I am please to see that solicitor has now confirmed in this letter,
that the basis of
your invoicing for the past 10 years was not valid.
He also states that you wish to use another approach to extract money
for the cost of the estate's roads by compulsion.
So to summarise, based upon the contents of your solicitors letter,
rather than accept
my voluntary payments, which I made for 15 years prior to my dispute,
you now are
happy to accept a lower amount based solely on a charge for the roads.
Based on the latest financials on your web site, your budget 2014 for
Roads and Paths was £10,000 out of a total
expenditure of £97,000. This means that the amount allocated to Roads
and Paths was 10.3% of the
overall expenditure.
Your letter ref IPO/KM/WIL3305-1 demands £1,588.71, which is equivalent
to the full Estate Rates, not the just the amount allocated to Road
and Path Maintenance.
Therefore we need to adjust that accordingly to £163.64 which is 10.3%
of the full Estate Rates
you have requested.
I intend to pay £200 now on a strictly VOLUNTARILY basis to avoid any
petty arguments
about the exact calculations.
I also intend, having now had it confirmed by your solicitor that no
contract exists between myself and the Willowhayne Estate,
to VOLUNTARILY pay an amount equal to the Estate rates from next year
provided I receive a statement
showing that the erroneous invoices you issued have been cancelled and
that I owe nothing."
ok not great but I am not lawyer.
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 there is no estate rentcharge on your title in addition to the positive covenant(s) to pay the above amounts to secure the positive covenants to pay rent please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

You are correct. No Estate Rentcharge in title or as a separate agreement just unenforceable positive covenants.

Perfect in that case I agree with your assessment that the covenants will be unenforceable unless you had entered into a direct covenant to pay rent personally which you are satisfied you have not. As you say postive covenants do not bind successors in title automatically unless a further direct covenant is entered into by that successor.The only other basis the owner of the estate roads can demand payment under is the common law doctrine of "benefit and burden". this doctrine runs that you cannot take a benefit without a burden and therefore in the assumption you have rights-of-way over the estate roads, you need to check the wording of the grant of your rights. If you have a right of way without any reference to bearing the cost of maintenance then you can exercise that right of way lawfully without any obligation to contribute towards maintenance. If however there is a condition that you must contribute towards maintenance as a condition of your right-of-way, the above doctrine holds that you cannot take the benefit of the right-of-way without also accepting the burden of contributing towards maintenance under the terms of the grant.Other than that, any contributions you choose to make are exactly as you suggest and made on an entirely voluntary basis on your part without obligation and you would be free to offer any amount you chose or thought fair and reasonable in the circumstances. In each case when you pay it would be wise to consider sending payment under cover of a note indicating that the payment is made as a gesture of goodwill and without any obligation and please to acknowledge safe receipt.I consider that your letter seems more than reasonable in the circumstances and subject as above you can withold any payment until you receive a response that that is satisfactory to you. In the case of any future payments you actually make, it is still worth including the above words as a note with any payment - namely that it is a gesture of goodwill given without any obligation.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
Joshua and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I agree I am right and have been for 10 years my question is what action can I take to stop them billing me on an illegal basis - i.e. If I sent you an invoice without a contract and made threats what action would you threaten me with to get me to stop ?

see original legal letter here

As you know an invoice without a legal basis is a baseless demand. Once you have advised them that you consider their invoices to be without legal justification if they continue invoice you you may consider consider requiring them in writing to "cease and desist" all further communications with you unless it is in respect of either directly responding to your letter or if they consider their invoices to have legal basis then by issuing proceedings in the county court which you can advise will be fully defended by you together with an application for costs against themYou may consider going to advise them that you will consider any further unwarranted invoicing or communications besides the above to constitute harrassment and breaches of Section 1 & 2 - Malicious Communications Act 1988, s1 Protection from Harassment Act 1997, and that further communications will result in your considering a report to trading standards (if they are trading company) as to their conduct and also reserve your rights to seek civil injunctive relief and costs against them if their conduct continuesIf they continue to ignore you, you could make a complaint to the police for a breach of the Prtection From Harassment Act and consider applying for an injunction requiring them to not contact you any further together with costs using the following form: hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Excellent , that's what I wanted. I run a software company and never wanted to spend a day of life researching law but over the last 10 years I feel like I am becoming a deeds expert - of course not but I know enough. Thanks for your help. I expect they'll do nothing as usual but if needed your reply will help greatly.