Problems with Barrister in freehold flats

by Readers Question

2 years ago

Problems with Barrister in freehold flats

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Problems with Barrister in freehold flats

A friend of mine is the owner of a freehold flat, first floor,with similar flats one above and one below. There is no management committee structure, and the freeholder of the 2nd floor flat has not paid his share of the joint costs for insurance or electric supply to common areas for many years. barrister

Unfortunately the owner is a barrister, whereas the other two owners are single women with no legal knowledge. The barrister has been absent for many months and let his flat in the meantime, which may contravene the terms of his lease.

It would appear the owners are freeholders, but with leases to each other.

Any comments or advice gratefully received.

John

Comments

N S

2 years ago

Hi John,

I'm sure you didn't mean any offence by it and it was entirely subconscious - as these things often are - but just pointing out that you do seem to suggest that being single and being a woman are relevant characteristics to the ability to resolve the dispute...or why even note it?

I doubt you really think that the marriage status or gender of the other freeholders is relevant. I doubt that 99.9% of the male population would have a clue either - as you don't. But it shows how pervasive these subconscious thoughts can be and they do have an impact on the way that women are treated in the business world and frankly it drives me barmy. I had a gas engineer the other day who quite literally was shocked that I had a property portfolio - cause, you know, I'm a woman.

As for the dispute - I don't have specific expert knowledge - but the obvious first port of call if not already done is to read the actual lease. At the end of the day "legal knowledge" is mostly just about being able to read and write agreements between different people - people are often scared of leases/contracts - they're just a written record of an agreement. There should definitely be something in the lease about failure to comply with the terms of the lease I would have thought. I doubt that your friend wants to go to the hassle of taking legal action for breach - but one area to investigate is if the insurance would not be valid if the fees weren't paid (for this see the lease and maybe check with the insurance company anonymously as a generic question) - if he thinks hes not covered by insurance he'll pay up pretty quick smart.

Good luck getting it sorted.

terry sullivan

2 years ago

1. read the lease

2. write to lessee

3. scc

4. Lease/Carlex

Puzzler

2 years ago

I have a similar set up in a flat. Unfortunately they will have to undertake legal proceedings for (presumed) breach of the lease.

If he is not paying his share of the insurance, who is? Are there mortgages on any or all of the flats?

There probably won't be anything about failure to comply in the lease, I have never seen that but it should say what each leaseholder has to do.

As the two are in a majority I suggest in the first instance they approach a block management agent. They will deal with these issues for a small fee.

Where are the flats?

That they are single women is indeed irrelevant but the fact that they have no legal knowledge and he is a barrister may not be.

John Walker

2 years ago

Hi NS and Terry Sullivan
Of course I meant to cause no offence by stating the two other freeholders were single women, merely to point out the disparity in their legal knowledge and lack of a partner with whom to discuss the situation before rushing into legal proceedings which may prove both expensive and ineffective. What my post wanted was comment and advice from people who may have found themselves in a similar situation in the past. My own experience is negligible, as all my properties are freehold, let on ASTs.
Terry, I don't understand your abbreviation 'scc' or to Carlex.

John Walker

2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Puzzler " at "22/01/2016 - 16:58":

Thank you 'Puzzler'
The address is in London SE22. Are there block management agents in that area which colleagues might recommend?What might be considered a 'small' fee?

Kate Mellor

2 years ago

I would have thought the other freeholders could apply to the county court for payment as it appears from your post that the other two freeholders have been covering his costs or I suppose the insurance would be cancelled for lack of payment & the services cut off? If so this is very inexpensive & no barrister wants a CCJ surely? His obligations are clearly set out in his lease so if he is in breach he will be ruled against one would think.

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