Landlord wants me to pay for roof and give it back to me when he can?

by Readers Question

13:46 PM, 7th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Landlord wants me to pay for roof and give it back to me when he can?

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Landlord wants me to pay for roof and give it back to me when he can?

I bought 3 apartments off an estate agent who personally owned them himself. He needed to sell to stave off bankruptcy FYI.roof repairs

I own all the apartments above his agency, there are only 3.

I have a lease with him for 99 years with 97 outstanding.

The lease states regarding repairs that we must “pay a fair and reasonable contribution” towards repairs, those exact words.

So, 2 issues. The landlord is insisting we pay 60% of all repairs as he states our 3 flats cover 60% of the space in the building. I think it’s unfair as he owns the property and he benefits more than we do on resale and value.. or am I wrong? Is a 60% contribution fair and legal? There is no % stated in ANY of the 3 contracts, only the words ‘ fair and reasonable contribution’

Secondly. the roof is leaking very very badly. the repair cost is £7500, he wants us to pay 60%, BUT as he is currently buying some new properties and renovating his other BTL properties (his words not mine) he wants us to pay and he will give it back to us when he can. I’m unsure how to tell him where to go and to justify why we won’t, any opinions?? Surely he has an obligation to get the roof repaired as my tenants have said they will move out of the apartment soon as its wet.. not sure how to play this one….??

He states his insurance cover doesn’t cover leaking roofs ! then what the point of buildings cover then??

ANY opinions would be greatly appreciated

Paul



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:49 PM, 7th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Paul,

If the roof repairs fall under general maintenance rather than an accident then the insurance is unlikely to pay unfortunately .

I am not sure about the 60% argument, but I certainly would not be accepting any IOUs.

May be worth checking with the Leasehold advisory service >> https://www.lease-advice.org/

Paul McCarthy

14:14 PM, 7th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "07/12/2016 - 13:49":

Thank you Neil. I won't be giving him an IOU.

Steven Way

14:53 PM, 7th December 2016
About 2 years ago

One or two issues here - when you say contracts do you means leases? These will set out what the freeholder is responsible for and how the costs are recovered from the service charge - are they paid in advance or in arrears? Assuming you have leases the freeholder [landlord] must go through a statutory consultation process before spending service charges, if this has not been done the work may not go ahead or service charges may not be recoverable. If he's an estate agent of repute he should know this. If the roofs are leaking badly they were likely to have been leaking when you bought the flats - caveat emptor, and yes it may well be the case that the freeholder has more benefit than a lessee but that is a creation of the slightly odd British leasehold system. In the absence of a stated service charge split one would often assess the demised floor area and if that is 60% that is likely to be upheld were you to challenge it at the FTPT. If he serves the right statutory consultation notice and the right service charge demand you may well have to pay your share of the service charge, that fact that he doesn't have the money for his share is not your concern - he will still have the obligation under the lease to repair the roof.

Puzzler

18:02 PM, 7th December 2016
About 2 years ago

It's quite normal to pay for the roof if you're a leaseholder, I am surprised the lease does not spell out the proportion - it would probably be calculated on floor area so 60% sounds about right

Not sure why you think he benefits from a roof any more than you do, you also benefit from resale etc. and own the apartments

That said, he must pay his share, and if he can afford new properties he should be able to afford to do it

Bill O'Dell

8:46 AM, 8th December 2016
About 2 years ago

You may have some leverage here to force a sale of the freehold to you if he cant pay and has a statutory duty to do so. If you have a tenant in there, then any disturbance or loss could result in a liability to the freeholder if they refuse to conduct the repair - more leverage.
The 60% sounds fair, and you will be a beneficiary for 97 years so should pay up - but only when the work has been done

Paul McCarthy

9:00 AM, 8th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Bill O'Dell" at "08/12/2016 - 08:46":

Thank you for this comment Bill !! Appreciated.

Nick Pope

17:33 PM, 17th December 2016
About 2 years ago

If the share is 60% and the property is 4 floors (shop + 3 flats) then I would say that 60% is more than fair. It's quite common that a ground floor would be larger if it has a single storey extension hence 60% rather than 75%. This percentage also suggests that any additional ground floor roof forms part of the freehold and that you contribute to that as well (whilst getting no benefit).
As already mentioned he will not get any extra benefit just because he is the freeholder - you benefit if the property is properly maintained.
Buildings insurance will not cover leaking roofs unless there has been some event which has caused the problem. Lack of maintenance is not an insurable event.
Perhaps I should not ask if you had a survey done when you purchased as it might have revealed the existing defect.
His inability to pay is a bit more of a problem. You would be spending £3000 on his behalf and you need some way to protect yourself if he goes under.
Assuming that you pay a reasonable ground rent (say £200 p.a. per flat) agree that unless he pays, you will not pay any ground rent on the flats until the debt plus, say 40% for your trouble has been offset in full.
You could reach a written agreement that the money is repaid within a certain time scale (again with interest) and that the arrangement can be registered as a caution at Land Registry. Your lawyer should be able to work out some way of doing it.


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