Freeholder reappears demanding 6 years ground rent

by Readers Question

11:59 AM, 7th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Freeholder reappears demanding 6 years ground rent

Make Text Bigger
Freeholder reappears demanding 6 years ground rent

I purchased a property in 2011 at auction,The solicitor was unable to locate the leaseholder.Recently I remortgaged and this time she was able to contact and yesterday I received this response. Freeholder reappears demanding 6 years ground rent

We can confirm the ground rent is not up to date and have been informed we can only claim a maximum of six years.

Ground rent charge £2.97 per annum x 6 £17.82
Notice charge £25.00
Admin fee £75.00

Total due £117.82

I am wrong to be outraged at this given that the actual ground rent I owe for the three years is less than a tenner.

Any thoughts?

Regards

Sheriden Whiteside



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:03 PM, 7th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Sheriden

I think you're right to be furious that the freeholder hasn't made contact for 6 years.

This bill could pail into insignificance though when you eventually get the service charge bill, especially if the freeholder has been paying insurance on the building for all this time and essential maintenance is required.

If this happens I'd suggest you take professional legal advice. In the meantime, I think you ought to read your leave very carefully to see whether or not the notice charge and admin fees are valid.

How did you manage to remortgage the property without contact details of the freeholder?
.

sheridan whiteside

18:04 PM, 7th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks for the reply.The property a terraced house was originally remortgaged in 2012 and the absentee landlord mustn't have been an issue.The notice gave me the impression of someone unaware and seeing to opportunity of some free money,The remortgage is dependant on a receipt that the ground rent is up to date and so I feel somewhat vulnerable. Could I expect a similar or greater charge each year for admin and notice,I haven't come across this before.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

8:06 AM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

I had a similar situation - my solicitor advised that if admin charges/notice charges (whatever they call them) are not indicated in the original lease your original freeholder cannot charge you them. But you do need to quote the relevant legislation to them in order to legally state your objection, otherwise they could go to your lender and ask them for the fees... which the lender will pay then charge you for the privilege !!!

If there is no mention in the lease.. send them a cheque for £17.82 in full and final settlement.

Annual ground rents of such small amounts are common in terraced properties in the north at least.

Finally if your solicitor found the leaseholder last time why did she not find them first time you remortgaged ?

Normally service charges will only be applicable if the property is a flat - but you don't mention that it is.

David Atkins

15:46 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

The freeholder cannot recover costs after 18 months as part of service charge unless they notify you that costs have been incurred. Don't forget that you can challenge this in First Tier Tribunal especially as it is a legal requirement that landlords (freeholder in this case) notify tenants of their contact details.

Also did they send you a summary of tenants rights and obligations along with the demand? if not you are not required by law to pay it.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

15:48 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

this is ground rent being demanded not service charge... altogether different legislation

David Atkins

15:51 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

True but Mark was warning that a S.C. bill may come next.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

15:52 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

only if it is a leasehold property and the original poster has not told us that yet....

David Atkins

15:59 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Do they send ground rent notices out on Freehold properties?

Mark Alexander

16:05 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Atkins" at "08/12/2014 - 15:51":

I have only read the same things as everybody else. Reference to service charges is purely speculative warning.
.

sheridan whiteside

16:43 PM, 8th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "All BankersAreBarstewards Smith" at "08/12/2014 - 08:06":

Thanks for the reply.The house in question is a Victorian terraced in Manchester.and the lease goes back to then The solicitor who dealt with it originally wrote to the freeholder and the letter was returned addressee gone away.The current firm dealing with it were provided for a fixed fee and I mainly deal with them via email.I did question this bill and they told me that it was a condition of the remortgage that the ground rent was up to date and that I should expect a further charge for the issuing of a receipt.Without which,presumably the remortgage won't go through

1 2 3

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

And the landlord vote goes to - ?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More