Ground rent issue/dispute

by Readers Question

10:26 AM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Ground rent issue/dispute

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Ground rent issue/dispute

Has anyone had or having a similar scenario with ground rent collectors; my current dilemma: Ground rent issue/dispute

I have an issue with an Agent collecting ground rent for a flat I rent in Northampton; Homeground. I was paying ground rent from Jan – Dec of £250 per annum to an agent at the time called Chamonix Estates. The collection of the ground changed hands to another Agent called Homeground, which must have been in the year 2011 as I received from Homeground a request for payment of ground rent from September 2011 to March 2012 of £125.00.

I wrote to them stating I have already paid my ground rent in full for the year 2011, if they are requesting payment from midyear then I will require a refund of money I have paid for September up to December 2011. Homeground have not called to resolve this but instead keep sending invoices for payment of ground rent for their specified months saying it is in the lease documents, the previous agents did not bring this to my attention.

For the subsequent years 2012, 2013, 2014 I have been the paying the ground as from Jan to Dec of £250 as they have not given me a refund for the months already paid to bring me in line with the months they wish to collect from. I even wrote to the landlords to no avail. I sent in my previous invoices showing my account that I was not owing anything, but they have been unhelpful and have not clarified anything to me. The online system does not make sense to me regards the account. I will not pay ground rent twice for months I have already paid for.

Homeground have now sent in a letter saying I am in arrears of £123.36 inclusive of a late payment fee £45. I do not owe them anything. And I refuse to pay this amount. They say they are now taking legal proceedings if not paid. If the previous agents were not accounting properly that is not my issue and I have sent in my invoices showing my account in the black not red.

Can anyone advise or suggest anything?

Thank you in advance 😀

Jo



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:32 AM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Jo

If the freeholders decide to take you to Court then you should obviously defend.

What they are more likely to do though is to write to your mortgage lender. Therefore, I'd sugggest you get in there first to let your mortgage lender know that you are in dispute and the reasons for it. If you don't, then your mortgage lender might just pay up to protect their own security and add the money onto your account.

A third option is to send then a cheque along with a letter explaining that you dispute their claim and that if they decide to bank your cheque then you will immediately request a refund and if it is not paid that you will take the matter in the small claims courts.

Another nasty trick that freeholders management companies do is to note a dispute on their files. They then hold you to ransom when you want to sell.

Good luck.
.

AA Properties Wales

13:38 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "17/11/2014 - 10:32":

Jo, what Mark is saying is correct. Be very careful. I had a similar problem with a company, let's call it Company X. I am unable to say (as they settled with me and I promised not to mention their name on websites). Get in first with your mortgage providers, telling them you are disputing any arrears, and maybe can they contact you if they receive any correspondence from them. I did 6 months of research into this Company X, and they had top London solicitors who dropped their clients once I defended in county court. Another thing I would do is to write to your company and state that you are charging them admin fees of £75 for your time, and you will counter sue in county court (don't put an amount). Have you had a claim for service charges if any? Watch out for that. Kev - AA

Jo cassie

14:04 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "17/11/2014 - 10:32":

Thank you for this I will look into this.
Kind regards

Jo cassie

14:05 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "AA Properties Wales " at "17/11/2014 - 13:38":

Thank you for you comments and suggestions.

Very much appreciated.

Kind regards

Sian Wyatt

16:08 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi
I also had this problem. It rumbled on for several years as yours has done, with the company sending me reminders and charges for overdue payments etc.

I was going to take it further, but as the service charges were also becoming ridiculous with the new management company it became simpler to pay up (it wasn't a huge amount, it was the principle) and sell the property, which I have now done.

I am very careful about buying any more leasehold property and am slowly selling the ones I already have if they have a management company or freeholder who I don't know/can't reference.

We live and learn.

Edna

Ashok Babber

16:40 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

I am experiencing similar problems since the change of our freeholder at the beginning of this year. The new owners of the development had appointed HomeGround to collect Ground Rents.
Fortunately, four years ago, after some years of bad management of the development by the previous Freeholder, I had convinced all the Lessees and taken away and set up the Right To Manage with our own elected Management Company.
The Solicitors, HomeGround and other companies involved in the transfer, from the previous Management Company, that had been collecting the Ground Rents, were in a mess as they had problems communicating with the Lessees until after the second half of this year. I, as one of the two Directors of the Right To Manage Company for the development, offered and arranged provision of information to get HomeGround send out communications to the correct mailing addresses of the Lessees.
I had religiously paid Ground Rents on time by way of standing order set up with my bank. The payment of Ground Rents for the period Jan-June 2014 got paid, during the transition period, to the previous Management company who confirmed having received the payment and also confirmed that it will be picked up by HomeGround.
During my discussions with one of the HomeGround Representative, I had informed her, and later confirmed by e-mail, that I had settled my payments upto the end of June 2014.
In August 2014, I received demands for the periods Jan-June 2014 and Jul-Dec 2014. I immediately paid, by on-line transfer, the outstanding Jul-Dec 2014 and informed HomeGround, by e-mail, of the previous period (Jan-Jun 2014) payment already made and the new period (Jul-Dec 2014) paid now. I asked them to confirm receipt, but received NO reply to this date.
In October 2014, I received HomeGround's letter claiming payment for the full year 2014 with £40.00 administration costs. I wrote back to them, but have not receive any response to this day.
Last week, I received another letter from HomeGround demanding the Full Year's Ground Rent plus the administration costs PLUS £100.00 for legal costs. They had also mentioned that I communicate directly with their solicitor.
Firstly, I wrote to the solicitor attaching all my previous communications with HomeGround. I had tried calling them as well on the number stated in the letter and also checked on their web-site. Their phone was not working. I had mentioned that in my e-mail. Today, I copied them in my separate e-mail to HomeGround in the subject matter. The solicitors then immediately replied that they have now take up the matter with HomeGround and will respond in due time and that their telephone has been in working order. They had also mentioned that I now deal with them. However, I phoned and got through this morning and told them, as had already been mentioned in my e-mail, that I may also take legal advice and claim for my time, etc., if this matter was not resolved at the earliest.
In the mean time, I have spoken with the old company that were collecting the Ground Rents and they have sent HomeGround the statement showing credit on my account of the first half of the year paid to them and copied me into the e-mail. The old company confirmed that there have been many such cases of similar treatment by HomeGround.
I hope that the matter will be resolved within a reasonable time failing that, I will be claiming (Charge) for my time.

Ashok Babber

16:59 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

I have just received an apology e-mail from HomeGround stating that my case is now revoked from their solicitors and that they have removed all late payment fee from my account.
I have asked them to send me an up-to-date statement to confirm nil balance outstanding on my account.

Mark Alexander

17:05 PM, 17th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ashok Babber" at "17/11/2014 - 16:59":

What a coincidence!

Or is it?

It won't be the first time that a service provider has picked up on the fact that we've been discussing them and quickly resolved the issue.

Please remember that we are funded by donations, if you are in a position to help please see >>> http://www.property118.com/donations/43590/ 😀
.

Christopher Browne

1:22 AM, 18th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Wow so Homeground have annoyed other people too??!

I am in a sticky situation with them as they bought the freehold of a property I own & rent; they did not receive or ignored my correspondence address, so all demands for Ground Rent went to my property & were clearly ignored by my tenant.

This means I have now received a letter from a solicitors firm acting on their behalf, who just did a Land Reg search, found my actual address and have sent me a letter with excessive fees & threat of impending court action! Would be very grateful if anyone has any suggestions!

Jo cassie

6:12 AM, 18th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ashok Babber" at "17/11/2014 - 16:40":

Wow. I have tried calling to no avail. I will try again and I have prove my account is up to date from my statement from the previous collectors. I will try again if no joy will seek legal advise.

Thank you all.

Kind Regards 🙂

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