Freeholder claiming arrears

by Readers Question

9:58 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Freeholder claiming arrears

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Freeholder claiming arrears

We bought a flat (to let out) in 2012 and for 6 months our solicitors could not get hold of the freeholder, so finally gave up and declared them “uncontactable”.

Early in 2013 the freeholder resurfaced claiming ground rent, building insurance and money for emergency works 6 back to 2007, just by sending a letter giving a summary of all alleged costs, no proper demand. We requested to see invoices, proof that relevant notices have been sent to the previous leaseholder, the freeholder’s company accounts for the relevant periods, etc., but not any of those have been provided. Freeholder claiming arrears

Then early this year they have taken us to small court, but have provided the court with the property address, and not our actual address where we reside. Following the delay in communication a CCJ was issued against us. Following that we have had a hearing and the judgement has been set aside.

We are facing a hearing to determine whether the claimed amounts are payable and we are unsure of how we should proceed.

In the meanwhile, just very recently, the freeholder sold the freehold at auction, and there were special clauses in the auction stating that whoever buys the freehold must cover for the claimed arrears as well.

The case with the old freehold is still on, but we are wondering, would the new freeholder have any rights as to claim from us again?

We have seen no documental proof of expenses made, the previous leaseholder claims nothing was owed at the time of sale.

The freeholder has used a managing agent for a period of time, so we have approached the company and requested the history of the property, but they refused to release any information. Do we have the right to see that as current owners?

Too many questions I’m afraid.

Would appreciate any advice.

Thanks

Slavena Millen



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:05 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Slavena

Something doesn't seem right here.

You say that you purchased the property back in 2012 but the arrears date back to 2007. Did your solicitor complete his enquiries properly before he completed the purchase for you?

My gut feeling tells me you could have a professional negligence case against your solicitor here. However, based on what you have said I really can't see how the freeholder can win the Court case if you have professional legal representation, hence the only damages you are likely to be able to claim against your solicitor are your legal defence costs against the freeholder. I doubt any solicitor would want the hassle of fighting against such a claim given the circumstances and therefore, if I were you, I'd flight this out. I'd also call in the big guns to give myself the best possible chances though - see >>> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945
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Slavena Millen

11:30 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice Mark. Yes, our solicitors messed up badly, and to think they are well established - **MODERATED - name removed** Solicitors...

Anyway, just trying to deal with the aftermath the best we can.

Mark Alexander

11:54 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Slavena Millen" at "07/10/2014 - 11:30":

Hi Slavena

Sorry but I have had to slightly moderate your post for legal reasons - please see >>> http://www.property118.com/what-property118-is-not/ for a full explaination.
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Shakeel Ahmad

12:28 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Take what ever action is required. Just do not go to the Leasehold tribunal or the lower tribunal what ever they are called now a days. As they will always side with the Freeholders, managing agents etc.

Joe Bloggs

16:11 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

i think the freeholder may possibly have a case, albeit slim. the conveyance contract usually says something like the new owner is responsible for outstanding debts (and this absolves the seller of responsibility and puts you first in line). there are obvious defences to the action, such as why the freeholder did not disclose the debt at the time you purchased.

Shakeel Ahmad

16:27 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Will the claim be not time barred ?

Slavena Millen

20:55 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Apparently they can claim ground rent up to 6 years back. Yes, we would be responsible, but in case they have tried to recover the money within a time limit after the amounts were due.

I'm not sure myself how it would be regarding building insurance and emergency works.

The other thing is that the freeholder actually sold the freehold at auction and has recovered the money from the new buyer.

We are not the only flat having the issue, it affects everyone within the building. Unfortunately, we could not get organised, so everyone is battling by themselves.

Shakeel Ahmad

22:45 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Besides the amount of ground rent The F/H cannot charge cost etc as he probably did not serve the right documents e,g summary charges etc.

AA Properties Wales

14:36 PM, 12th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Slavena,

I had the same thing happen to me. BUT, I went to court and had the new freehold company sell the freehold to me. That is what you really need to do.

What is the name of the new freehold company?

What is the name of the old freehold company?

Were you ever served with a Section 5 from any of the freeholders? What I am asking here is very important, as it is a criminal offence for a freeholder not to serve the leaseholders notice when they are selling.

Kevin

AA Properties Wales

Mark Alexander

9:50 AM, 13th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "AA Properties Wales " at "12/10/2014 - 14:36":

Are your sure it is a CRIMINAL offence?

If so, what is that criminal offence called? Please cite law.
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