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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24558
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My wife and I live in a house that is leasehold we have

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My wife and I live in a house that is leasehold we have owned since 2008. Recently the lease was purchased by a a. company called Fee Simple Estate. The historic annual Ground is £18 a year but this company is charging an extra £35 for what they term an Annual Insurance approval Charge. I have been told that is not enforforcable if you send them them a. Notice of Insurance cover form inline withe the 2004 regulations. Can you advise me on this please. My name is***** Fry
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Yes sent in the form and a cheque for the historic ground rent of £18
JA: Where is the house located?
Customer: Sheffield ( Ashfield Close Sheffield S12 2 QU
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Yes the company are also threatening to charge interest on late payment of the total fee£53 and a possible £50 administration fee

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Can you tell me why your house is leasehold - was this a new build back in 2008?

Stuart J and 3 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 days ago.
no the house was built in the 1960's

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***@******.***

let me just confirm what we spoke about:

I agree with you, it isn’t enforceable.  I would ask them to point out to you wearing the lease it allows them to levy this charge.  Whether it’s enforceable or not depends what it says on the lease.

You can tell them that if they try to enforce this, you will refer the matter to the Leasehold Tribunal and in view of their unreasonable behaviour you will be asking the Tribunal to award costs against them.

The majority of tribunal claims are freeholders and management companies charging for services which they haven’t provided or overcharging and yours is one of those.

The more of you get together, with a view to bringing a joint tribunal claim and objecting to this charge, the better.

Unfortunately, anybody who joins in has the risk and the time to spend doing it well as anybody who doesn’t joining still gets the benefit of the outcome with no time or risk.

You might want to send them this letter:

Dear Sir,

RE : PROPERTY ADDRESS.  UNWARRANTED DEMAND FOR SPURIOUS CHARGES

May I please have the courtesy of a reply to my previous letter/email of DATE?

I am in receipt of your recent letter of DATE asking for a further GBP35 in respect of “Annual Insurance Approval Charge” and threatening a further late payment charge of GBP53 and the possible administration fee of GBP50.

I have taken advice from 2 different solicitors and both advices accord with each other.

These charges are not enforceable either under the terms of the Lease or any Statutory provision.

Therefore, if you feel differently, please tell me the Statutory Provision under which you are attempting to levy these charges and/or which provision in the lease allows you to do so.

 Indeed, the Annual Insurance Approval Charge is now specifically NOT allowed to be charged by a freeholder.

Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and please acknowledge receipt of the GBP18 ground rent already sent to you under different cover, by cheque.

Otherwise, please do not write to me again as any further correspondence will be deemed to be harassment.

Should you continue to pursue this when I would have no alternative but to refer the matter to the Leasehold Tribunal to have the matter determined by the court.  I would have no hesitation in bringing this correspondence to the attention of the Court/tribunal as evidence of your unreasonable and unwarranted behaviour and I would ask the court to award all those costs against you.

If you do not understand the significance of this letter, you may wish to take legal advice as I have already done.

I trust that this is the end of the matter.

Yours faithfully