8:30 AM, 28th February 2020, About 2 years ago 16
I have a problem with my freeholder, a large national company. I live in Cyprus so am not on the spot so to speak. The leaseholder in the flat below mine in the UK which I rent out, contacted my agent to say the roof had been damaged in the recent storms and the agent passed the message on, the leaseholder below seems to think it is my sole responsibility to repair. The block is an end of terrace, 1 flat up and 1 down insured as one unit covering both flats
Since as normally the freeholder is responsible for maintaining the structure and common areas, I contacted them to request repairs. The response some 3 days later, was to request payment of the insurance premium which was only billed the same day and fortunately I had paid it by return and confirmed this to them.
Their next response was to send me a copy of the demand to them for payment for the whole block policy, giving details of the policy and that I should contact the insurance company. They advised that I need to deal with it myself and that they had posted claim forms to me to an UK contact address as they do not post overseas. They will of course take weeks to reach me
I queried their procedure and asked why they were not managing and dealing with a structural issue themselves and throwing it back at me as a leaseholder in part of the property and that it was their responsibility as freeholders.
Their response to that was that “the freeholder only owned the ground my property stood on”. Despite the fact they are responsible for insuring said building.
I sent them a copy of the relevant section of the lease which reads:- “The lessor hereby covenants with the lessee (subject to contributions and payments as here in before provided) as follows”.
“During the said term to keep in good and substantial repair, and to repair redecorate renew amend and clean when and as necessary and appropriate:- The main structure of the building save and except those parts for which the lessee is responsible under clause 3 (4) hereof”. Clause 3 (4) refers to the internals of the flat which is the subject of the lease.
To me it seems quite clear it is their responsibility to deal with it.
Sorry this is so long, but I thought the detail was needed as I am seeking the help of someone who can give me legal guidance on this as no regular maintenance or inspections have ever been done, they just collect the ground rent and insurance premium.