Disagreement on share of Freehold decorating obligations?

by Readers Question

10:22 AM, 15th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Disagreement on share of Freehold decorating obligations?

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Disagreement on share of Freehold decorating obligations?

There is a disagreement regarding the shared cost of decorating a ‘communal hallway’. We are four flats, all four flats have an equal 25% share of the freehold which we purchased some years ago. Our names are registered on the Land Registry. We split cost of works to the exterior of the building, building insurance etc – we do not have a management company, ‘we self-manage’.decorating

Three of the flats share an entrance with a small communal hallway. The Basement flat has its own separate entrance. The basement lease says: where the demised premises is a Basement flat with its own separate entrance the service charge shall not include any contribution to the cleaning and decoration of the internal common parts of the building.

As we have 25% equal share of the freehold, am I correct in understanding the same terms of the lease would apply – the basement flat is excluded from contributing to the cost of decorating the communal hallway?

Some of the shared freeholds are saying that as we have a share in the freehold the basement flat is equally responsible for these costs. Surely although we share the freehold, we still have a lease and the lease is binding?

Many thanks

Bee



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:26 AM, 15th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I am not an expert on this so possibly someone else can assist, but I would start by consulting the Leasehold Advisory Service >> http://www.lease-advice.org/

BP Surrey

11:24 AM, 15th July 2016
About 2 years ago

I own and or manage a number of blocks the biggest containing 61 flats. In my view the lease to any flat stipulates the contribution to be paid. Owning a share in the freehold is irrelevant. I agree with Neil, ask the same question to the Leasehold Advisory Service.

David Aneurin

12:21 PM, 15th July 2016
About 2 years ago

If that is what the lease for the basement flat says says then they cannot be held liable for the cleaning and decorating of the communal hallway used by the. The flats were purchased with those provisions included so it is difficult to try to change now. The three remaining may or may not have a reference to proportion of the costs of the cleaning etc but the basement flat is the one which excludes them paying. I would advise accepting the situation so that you do not cause any animosity between the freeholders - this really is a can of worms.

Nick Pope

7:45 AM, 16th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Looks fairly clear to me, the basement does not pay a share of the costs of cleaning and decoration of the internal common parts. Assuming the lease is clear the fact that he/she has a part share of the freehold makes no difference. Presumably he happily pays for the main structure, external decorations, gardening (is any), car parking, insurance etc.
I guess the most important thing is "what's fair?" and the lease seems to me to be as fair as it can be.
If you're self managing perhaps you have a painting party with a few beers and he might join in!

Kate Mellor

21:34 PM, 16th July 2016
About 2 years ago

You need to think about the freehold and leasehold as two separate things as they can realistically be separately owned. The usual way of managing this would be that the freeholder would pay for and organise the work and then recharge the cost of the work according to the leases.

In this case the freehold is owned one quarter share per flat. So in theory each would pay one quarter towards all costs. Then in this case each of the three flats liable for the internal repairs would be recharged one third of the cost which would then be repaid to the freeholders. The short-cut to this as the freeholders are also the leaseholders would be for the three liable leaseholders to pay the costs and leave it at that.


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