Freeholder refusing responsibility for roof repairs?

by Readers Question

8:30 AM, 28th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Freeholder refusing responsibility for roof repairs?

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Freeholder refusing responsibility for roof repairs?

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.

Bill



Comments

Puzzler

8:17 AM, 29th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Ah, now I have seen their response it does make some sense.
First, notify the other leaseholder that it is joint reponsibility (unless the lease says otherwise), get the insurance details (which you already have) and make the claim yourselves. Surely your letting agent would have notified you?

Gracie

14:26 PM, 29th February 2020
About 6 months ago

For my sins I not only have a MA personally, but also have the misfortune of working with them through my job. The big ones with thousands of properties are no better than the small ones, in fact more potential for human error / carelessness / lack of compassion for the little people / disinterest in the rules. Regulation can't come soon enough. Having said that it's understandable that they don't want to deal with anything if they aren't getting management fee & service charges. Surprising that they're not, seeing as the lack of regulation allows them to shaft every leaseholder and write their own cheques from our personal funds. RTM is something most have to fight for & some of us don't have the option, but you have it by default. Next best, request to buy the freehold, then you can employ your own MA. Hopefully the laws will change soon & it will be cheaper now that the CMA & government are on the case.

Bill Williams

14:30 PM, 29th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gracie at 29/02/2020 - 14:26
I have no problem with paying management fees. I pay them on all my other properties with decent management and in return I get service. I have told them the same.

Gracie

15:04 PM, 29th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Williams at 29/02/2020 - 14:30
As I understand it they're not giving you the option to pay & have the service? They just don't want to manage the properties? Again I still don't blame them - leaseholders can be like herding cats, too lol

Bill Williams

15:07 PM, 29th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gracie at 29/02/2020 - 15:04
That comment was not very funny. Much easier to sit back and take the ground rent and forgo service charges. Makes for an easy life and sod the client.

terry sullivan

15:10 PM, 29th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Williams at 29/02/2020 - 15:07
i own a freehold but there is no service charge in the lease--i just get the ground rent. i an not aware that i can do anything about it--i purchased the freehold as its next door to my house

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