Freeholders solicitor overcharged

Freeholders solicitor overcharged

by Readers Question

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9:07 AM, 24th June 2014, About 10 years ago 13

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When I recently sold my flat in London the freeholders solicitor produced the management pack with bills for ground rent, insurance and service charges after I paid the fee for this. Some charges had been paid over the 3 years of ownership but there was a discrepancy of £400 as some cheques had not been cashed. Laterly I had been paying into the freeholders solicitors client account. Freeholders solicitor overcharged

Just before completion the freeholders solicitor double charged for the 2014 ground rent making an overpayment of £600. In order to complete the sale this was settled with pro-rata refund from the buyer for the 2014 payments made.

How do I go about getting back:-

1) the £200 double charged for the 2014 ground rent.

2) the £400 overpayment and

3) the estimated £900 paid for nothing to the freeholder (interim payment £200 p/a less fictitious payments) as nothing had been done by the freeholder during my ownership.

I believe the freeholders solicitor has made a mistake but he has been unhelpful and won’t look again at the figures.

Can I make a complaint to the regulatory body for the solicitor ?

Can I bring a claim in the land court ?

Any advice please?

Many thanks


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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:08 AM, 24th June 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi Steven

Why isn't your conveyancing solicitor advising you on this matter?

Shakeel Ahmad

8:38 AM, 28th June 2014, About 10 years ago

The shark, unethical & money grabbing Freeholders/managing agents are using this practice. They will provide a statement to your solicitors and later follow up with additional one.

Freeholders/Managing agents know that if the leaseholder do not agree he/she could lose their sale. Another scam. All this behavior had been encouraged due to the useless " leasehold tribunal" and their bias towards leaseholders.

If you take the matter to the Courts and do not want to go to the leasehold tribunal the judges will pass it to the Tribunal.

Until recently the no cost was awarded. The Freeholders would use some excuse to claim the money.

Si G

11:33 AM, 28th June 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "24/06/2014 - 09:08":

Hello Mark, thankyou for your comment, the sellers conveyancer did not want to get involved in a "contentious issue" and in order to complete the sale the seller decided to pay the charges then try to get a refund, as the matter had been dragging on for months the seller risked losing the buyer as well as being asked for another £200 to pay for an up to date management pack from the freeholder as it was only valid for 3 months.
As Shakeel Ahmad mentioned the freeholder has the leaseholder over a barrel as they know that the sale is unlikely to be completed until "arrears" have been paid (assuming the buyer requires a mortgage).

Si G

11:40 AM, 28th June 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "shakeel ahmad" at "28/06/2014 - 08:38":

Thank you for your comment Shakeel, please see my reply to Mark. The system or freeholders and leaseholders is like the abolished feudal system in Scotland its like something from the middle ages where the freeholder is aloof, does almost nothing and is able to charge significant amounts as per the lease terms (even able to collect arrears for up to 12 years). I will let you know how I get on with the claim.

Shakeel Ahmad

11:55 AM, 28th June 2014, About 10 years ago

Does not matter how one dresses it up. The system is Feudel and let us not forget the three of the biggest landlord in the Country i.e. the Queen, Price of Wales & the Westminster estate.

The court & judges allow the system to infest. Slight digression. We accept all rules & legeslations coming out of Europe where the government happily enforce them as they can extract VAT from it & blame the EU ( I am not EU bashing )

Why is the EU system of ownership not applied in UK. The ownership of a property/roof over ones head is far more fundamental than e.g EPC certificate to the citizen on the planet.

Members of both the political parties are in property in one form or the other by inheritance or otherwise & they do not take action.

Si G

13:55 PM, 28th June 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "shakeel ahmad" at "28/06/2014 - 11:55":

I agree Shakeel it seems the leasehold system put power in the hands of the few with vested interests in maintaining the current feudal system. Far easier to buy a flat in Scotland where the matter of insurance/management does not create a problem upon sale. Selling a leasehold flat in England raises a lot of potential problems with insurance and management, hopefully the problems will be sorted out.


15:17 PM, 28th June 2014, About 10 years ago

It should be easy enough to claim the overpayment and double charge provided you can evidence it. You could find out what the rest of the money was for, you say fictitious payments, what does that mean? are there no accounts? just because the freeholder didn't do anything while you were there doesn't mean it is for nothing, there are strict rules as to what and how work is charged for which you can check have been complied with, but it may be into a future fund such as for roof repairs. If it wasn't paid into, then when the roof needed doing the flat leaseholder at the time would have to pay the whole lot even though they might have been there only a few months.

Shakeel Ahmad

0:43 AM, 29th June 2014, About 10 years ago

@Puzzler. If only it was as easy.

Why should the seller be faced with this commercial black mail at the point of sale, why should the freeholders/managing Agents can act in this disdainful manner whilst showing two fingers to all & sundry.

It should be noted that in most cases the solicitors, debts collectors are from the same community & in most cases pass business to each other at a drop of a hat.

Who, do you find out from ? they are not forth coming with the information, even though the act allows you & non cooperation/not providing the documents etc is a criminal offence. In my application to the tribunal I had provided them with a copy of my letter to the Freeholder quoteing the section of the act.

If you are suggesting to take the matter with the Leasehold tribunal/lower tear. You can forget it. They are blatantly bias & ignore leaseholders documents right under their noses.

In my personal experience the Freeholders charged large amount of commission on Block Insurances. They will never provide a quote or any document to show what if any commission had been earned by them..

I had repeatedly asked my freeholder to provide me the same over a period of three years. They provided me every thing under the sun except the quotes. Since the

Freeholder took over the block Insurance the premium went up by nearly 47%. In one of Freeholder letters to me they even conformed that they do not receive any commission.

I made an application to the tribunal to obtain the quotes in order to establish the increase in premium. The Freeholder failed to provide this to the tribunal & in their submission to the tribunal accepted that they charged 10% commission contradicting their own letter.

The tribunal did nothing and accepted that the premium was reasonable & than fed the answer to the freeholders that they charged 10% commission as they felt it was reasonable. The Freeholders replied that was the case.

The tribunal not even once raised the issue that why the documents were not provided despite of receiving seventeen letters from the leaseholder over a three year period and charged 10% while denying in writing that no commission had been charged.

The tribunal totally overlooked the main basis of my application. As the tribunal is part of the justice system one cannot challenge its findings in the Courts.

A leaseholder can appeal to the next level but this can only take place after the consent of the tribunal. The next level is heard by paper presentation so there is no chance of a fair hearing.

The tribunal is not fit for its purposes and it is one of the main reason that all these extortion is taking place.

Si G

9:59 AM, 19th July 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Puzzler " at "28/06/2014 - 15:17":

Ive not been on here for a while thanks for your comments Puzzler, some progress has been made, the double charge for 2014 ground rent i understand is being refunded.
Accounts were basic, simply an annual charge of £500, in the lease the freeholder can charge for accounting and audit but id like to see other costs as no maintenance/cleaning or repairs were carried out to my knowledge during my tenure. When flat was purchased detailed accounts were produced (for the balance of the moving in year) although it was doubtful that anything was actually done and at the time I was happy to be moving in and not paying someone else's mortgage (renting).
There is no sinking fund for things such as future roof repairs.
Ill keep you updated as I said some progress, have sent 7 day letter for the overpayment and will begin small claim for that as I believe the solicitor has calculated the amount wrongly, i am also about to complain to the solicitors regulatory authority and have also made an internal complaint (all to the freeholders solicitor).
To remind you there are two strands to my enquiry, firstly overcharging by freeholders solicitor on completion/sale and secondly what the £500 annual charges were for (land tribunal ?).
I thought solicitors/conveyancers required to do basic accounting has anyone else had this problem ?

Shakeel Ahmad

10:19 AM, 19th July 2014, About 10 years ago

You will find that solicitors regulatory authority , will not deal with you as you are not the client. The freeholder/managing agents are the clients. Welcome to the legitimate mafia.

Guess what people by homes for quite, peaceful occupation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

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