Frustrating battle with freeholder over roof

by Readers Question

14:51 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Frustrating battle with freeholder over roof

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Frustrating battle with freeholder over roof

I have a very odd scenario and hope I can be advised regarding my best (and most cost effective) option.

One of my properties is a leasehold flat in London. The house is made up of 2 flats. I own the upstairs flat while the person who owns the freehold also owns the ground floor flat, where he lives. He is the person I have issues with.

The roof of the house is damaged beyond repair. It took a while for the roof to get to the present state. The freeholder never contributed towards any of those repairs. This matter has gone on for years now, while damage continues to be done to my property. Last year I had enough and referred the matter to the County Court and luckily got the Court to order him to pay £2,500 towards changing the roof. He still has not paid the money and I’ve gone back to the Courts for a warrant. This is still on-going.

The major problem meanwhile is that the roof needs to be changed urgently. I therefore decided to go ahead with the work myself and got a roofer to start work 2 weeks ago, who I made initial payment of just over £1,000 to. The freeholder, when he saw roof tiles that were delivered to the property for the job, threatened the roofer and his colleagues and would not allow them carry out the job. He is also threatening to get rid of the tiles. Police are aware of the matter but have only suggested we seek legal advice. Things got so bad that we are actually no longer allowed to contact each other directly (which is a relief). Frustrating battle with freeholder over roof

My most pressing question now is how do I make sure the roof is changed soonest, as damage continues to be done to my flat? I have considered trying to obtain a court order but worry about the (yet another) cost. Is there something else I should consider? Is there another way of ensuring he allows the roofer the change the roof? I worry that with time my flat could become uninhabitable.

Thank you

Matt


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Comments

Mark Alexander

14:54 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

I'd suggest making an appointment for a free 15 minute telephone consultation with Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law) - see >>> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945
.

Alistair Nicholls

17:01 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

As a leaseholder, you should have a lease which states rights & responsibilities. The person below your flat should be both a leaseholder and the freeholder. The solution to your problems lies in the detail of the lease you own.

I would expect your lease (and other leases for your building) to require each leaseholder to pay sums into a maintenance fund (typically a limited company), that has the legal duty to maintain the structure of the building (including repairing the roof). Typically each leaseholder would own one share in that maintenance company. With only two shareholders, I would expect you to have formal meetings to discuss and agree maintenance budgets and expenditure.

One potential problem is two shareholders; how is a decision made if the two shareholders vote against each other? Where is the casting vote?

The devil is in the detail of your lease. Sorry, but I don't think there is a cheap way to deal with this.

David Soutter

19:04 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

If he still owes the money under the county court order, pay the £72 to change the judgement to a High Court judgement and then give the debt to one of the number of HCEO companies that are about. I am not one but can recommend one if required. All the costs are paid by the debtor. Then at least you will have the money you are owed.

Mark Alexander

20:29 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Soutter" at "13/05/2014 - 19:04":

Thanks for this David, I've not come across this strategy before and will be investigating further. The HCEOE website is very interesting. I plan to contact a few of their members with a view to discussing sponsorship and providing case studies which are relevant to landlords, letting agents and developers. If you know any please ask them to get in touch with me.

Link to HCEOE website >>> http://www.hceoa.org.uk/
.

David Soutter

20:42 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

I am certain I can get you an introduction to at least two of the bigger companies both of whom I have used and would recommend.

There is a debt threshold I think £600 but once you have a judgement they are lethal if the debtor does not pay you. You do have to have judgement which I would be happy to help with but collection by them is relentless. They will go and keep going till the debt is paid.

Mark Alexander

21:17 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Soutter" at "13/05/2014 - 20:42":

Thank you David, much appreciated 🙂

Is the £600 the upper or lower limit please?

Please contact me to discuss the services you offer too please - also see >>> http://www.property118.com/business-sponsorship/
.

David Soutter

21:21 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Lower limit. Actions over £15,000 (from memory) are automatically High Court actions

Mark Alexander

21:29 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Soutter" at "13/05/2014 - 21:21":

Thanks David, you wouldn't happen to know how the changes in 'Taking Control of Goods Act 2013' affect landlords and tenant would you by any chance?
.

David Soutter

21:37 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

The old rules which allowed landlords (commercial) to distraint on goods in an unpaid rental situation has now been restricted. There is a requirement to write to the tenant before hand warning them etc. In so far as residential rules are concerned not much has changed.

Mark Alexander

21:39 PM, 13th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Soutter" at "13/05/2014 - 21:37":

This is very exciting 🙂
.

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