13:31 PM, 6th June 2016, About 5 years ago 5
I am trying to do a simple Statutory lease extension on a fairly ordinary flat in a block of about 40 flats. The lease has 93 years to run. A Section 42 notice has been served and both valuers have agreed a fair compromise figure of £5000 for the lease premium.
However the landlord has only ‘provisionally’ agreed the £5000 and will not definitely agree to the £5000 figure unless we agree to pay his valuer and solicitor about £5500 in costs! This is about twice the going rate. We cannot move forward on this until the premium is agreed.
This is really blackmail – it is not supposed to be like this. We cannot challenge their costs because the Tribunal rules say that their costs cannot be challenged until the premium has been mutually agreed or determined by the Tribunal.
Now they know that using professionals it will cost me about £2500 in fees and charges to go to the First Tier Tribunal to get the premium determined so I might as well just pay their fees and save the hassle. Now I don’t like being taken for a ride and in effect being robbed.
I am retired, and have spare time, so I have decided to take them on myself with a personal application to the FTT to firstly get the lease premium fixed by them. I am going for a hearing because my time costs very little and I can explain the tricks the other side are using. Also the landlord will not be able to claim back the costs of his advisers at the hearing.
What I really don’t understand is why the landlord is so adamant that I pay his excessive freeholders costs. All the landlord should only be interested in is getting paid his premium, unless perhaps he is getting a cut or backhander from his advisers. This is the very first lease extension I have done – just my luck to deal with a bunch of crooks.
My valuer says my case is not uncommon and this ploy whilst not illegal is definitely against the spirit of the LRHUDA 1993. My valuer also says it is more common when the lease premium is quite low and they rely on the fact that that it is not worthwhile for the leaseholder to challenge the premium at the FTT.
I hope that my case goes to a hearing at the FTT so that I can make the tribunal aware of this type of malpractice. I also will be asking the tribunal to award me me costs of my application and hearing fees.
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