Leaseholder didn’t send invoice now debt collectors are asking for money!

Leaseholder didn’t send invoice now debt collectors are asking for money!

0:03 AM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago 14

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Hi, my lease ground rent has a six-monthly payment schedule, from which the leaseholder should send an invoice for the amount due. They have missed the last 2 invoices ( I haven’t received them via post) and, the first I heard about it was that the debt collection agency PDC issued a demand for the debt to be paid, plus a load of other costs, almost doubling the amount due.

I have no issue with the amount owed, but what I am not happy with is the additional costs, and the fact that I didn’t receive the invoices! I have always paid the ground rent on time, and as I was not sent these last 2 invoices, the payments were never made. Also, the leaseholder did not reach out via any alternative communication (either emails/calls/more letters) when these payments were missed, and now the debt is with PDC who are chasing me for the monies and extras!

Do I have any way of not paying the extras? I have asked PDC for proof that I received the invoices, but I am not sure what else I can do.

Does anyone have any advice, or have dealt with similar?

Thank you!

Alex


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Comments

Freda Blogs

9:54 AM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Most leases specify that (ground) rent should be paid 'whether or not demanded'. Unless you are coming up to a review, the ground rent will be the same as always paid, and you should always ensure that it is paid irrespective of receiving an invoice. Service charges are a different matter.
My suggestion is that you pay the outstanding ground rent to your landlord immediately, with an accompanying letter specifying that the full amount of the payment is to be allocated to the ground rent payment (ie not to be used towards the charges), and you can argue about the charges separately if you feel you have a case. Just get the ground rent paid in full asap as you do not want to be at risk of further default that could ultimately lead to forfeiture of your lease.

Kizzie

10:11 AM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Was this letter from a well known aggressive debt collector solicitors ?
I agree with previous advice and pay it as Ground Rent due under Section 166 Commonhold & Leasehold reform act 2002 recorded delivery, keep a copy.
Make it clear it is not service charge due under provisions of your lease and ss 18-30 landlord & tenant act 1985 to be held in section 42 LTA 85 client trust and not money belonging to the management company.

Judith Wordsworth

11:45 AM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Are you talking about extra maintenance costs, or costs incurred by the landlord (ie the Freeholder) in getting your Ground Rent?

Ground Rent is payable, in most Leases, "whether legally demanded or not". It will state the payment terms very clearly in your Lease.

If your Lease states "legally demanded or not" then you are liable for the Ground Rent PLUS any costs incurred by the Freeholder to get this money, as stated in your Lease.

Ground rent is nothing to do with maintenance or service charges.

Your Lease will clearly identify the difference between Ground Rent and Maintenance/Service charges and the different payment schedules.

Service Charges can be up front, in arrears, paid annually, quarterly, monthly.
High costing works, in excess of £250 per flat, need to have been notified by a s20 notice BEFORE any works can start. The Lease may also stipulate how many quotes are needed.

David Smith

11:46 AM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Kizzie at 13/07/2023 - 10:11
As mentioned above your lease will undoubtedly say Ground Rent must be paid Whether Demand or Not.

Pay all of the Freeholders costs and just put it down to experience and move on.

Blodwyn

11:59 AM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Until we extended the existing lease, we paid it by Standing Order. See comments above regarding 'whether demanded or not'?

Communications poor both ways? See also your lease as to recovery of costs.

Kizzie

12:29 PM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Ground rent is rent payable to the landlord aka freeholder and non payment pursued as a debt owed to a creditor.

Pursuit of Service charge contributions in arrears are reciprocal contributions are different from rent and must be pursued by the landlord under provisions of the lease and the landlord & tenant act.

If service charge in dispute then an application to the First tier property tribunal by either party to determine if there is a breach in lease covenants by either party and if legal fees are allowable cost under the lease.

Richie

13:30 PM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

I had the same issue back in 2008 with a company called Solitaire now owned I think by Peverel's.
Two properties on the same estate both leases by them. I thought I was paying both (I know, I should have checked). No correspondence received at the second property and nothing to my billing address, nothing via email or phone. The first I knew was when a court order arrived with a CCJ. I immediately called and emailed Solitaire to explain that I had not received anything previously and that I paid the outstanding amount that day. They would not accept this and insisted that any extra charges would need to be paid through the court. I had to engage a solicitor to argue the removal off the CCJ, which cost more money as I had to pay their costs as well. For something called the "debt had been satisfied" this would then removed the CCJ from any records. All in all a nightmare and and dealing with an unforgiving, obstinate company who's reputation was well known. Now I try to avoid any leasehold properties, I did buy another but made sure it was not managed by either of the two above or any affiliates of them. Best avoid all leases which for some is not always possible.
As an aside, the property its self was Freehold but the area outside was lease, which oddly meant they looked after the outside of the house. Another thing I will avoid, no thanks to the solicitor for not pointing that out.
Okay rant over,

Kizzie

16:48 PM, 13th July 2023, About 8 months ago

The number of solicitors who know nothing of leasehold law is enormous and M As like Peverel, First Port now owned by a French company, Solitaire etc exploit ignorance.
It leaves leaseholders to do their own learning and research and
get worse with these professional companies moving into the rental market

Alex Walton

14:09 PM, 14th July 2023, About 8 months ago

Thanks for the replies!

I have paid the leaseholder the exact payments, not including the extra fee's PDC debt are attempting to charge ( they almost double the ground round i was apparently owing) . I have gone back with this to both parties, and also set up a direct debit going forward

Thanks for all the suggestions

Blodwyn

15:14 PM, 14th July 2023, About 8 months ago

SUBJECT to what is in your Lease, I suspect you may have to pay the costs as well.

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