9:45 AM, 7th March 2022, About 3 months ago 9
I am hoping someone with a legal bent can offer some high-level advice and, hopefully, a solution.
In 2007 we signed a lease on an apartment and returned it to our solicitor for exchange. Our solicitor’s Report on the Agreement stated the Ground Rent was £150 pa, and the Lease stated the same. That’s what we signed and returned. The property had not been built, and Completion didn’t happen until 2008. We were ‘leasehold naive’, and relied on our solicitor’s competence and experience from dealing with hundreds of similar purchases, to ensure our purchase went through smoothly.
Long story short, our day-to-day trials and tribulations took over, and we duly paid the invoices from our freeholder without question because we were advised we must pay the Ground Rent or risk forfeiture. I said we were ‘naive’!
A new Managing Agent has recently taken over and sent spurious invoices which have caused me to question the charges, and do a lot of digging. I’ve retired and have the time! The Lease we signed is not the Lease registered with Land Registry. It carries the same reference number, but the document the Managing Agent has, which will have come from Land Registry, shows the Ground Rent as £250 pa. Someone changed it after we signed and, I assume, didn’t inform our solicitor. My understanding is any changes agreed subsequent to a Lease being signed, must be initialled by all parties to the Lease.
Clearly, this has a significant financial implication, in addition to the AST issue.
Our solicitor shut-up shop soon after our Completion, and we have no way of obtaining our files. Hence, we have no one to refer to the SRA.
I have written to the Managing Agent, but I’m sure their response will be dismissive. Is there anything we can do to revert to what we signed after all this time?
Please feel free to email me on email@example.com if you can help.
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