Rent Charge – A North West phenomenon!

by Readers Question

13:57 PM, 1st April 2015
About 4 years ago

Rent Charge – A North West phenomenon!

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Rent Charge – A North West phenomenon!

As leaseholder we received a letter demanding 6 years worth of Rent Charge on our commercial property amounting to about £200. Legal action was threatened. We took advice from our professional bodies (AOP) legal team and also from our solicitor. The AOP said nothing to do with you, the solicitor said just pay it!

We did our own research via internet and also paid Land Registry for details.

Rent Charge is not the same as ground rent. It occurs mainly in NW England and is a charge to be paid by the freeholder!

Apparently land was sold to freeholder for so much down and so much per annum in perpetuity ( not so free then!)

In our case it took several letters to the owner of the rent charge to convince them that:-
1. we are not the pub with similar address but different postcode! (we are opticians)
2. we are leaseholders and not responsible for rent charge
3. we do not know where the freeholder is. (not at address held by land registry and has never requested ground rent)

I am told some companies can be very aggressive in demanding rent charge – do your own research and do not just cave.

Samrent charge



Comments

Ian Narbeth

18:49 PM, 1st April 2015
About 4 years ago

Rent charges are rare except in certain parts of the country and complex. It's not my specialist subject but from a quick bit of research it would not be cost-effective to employ a solicitor to fight a £200 claim. That explains your solicitor's advice. No point him charging you £500 to £1000 to try (and possibly fail) to save £200!

That said, well done you for calling their bluff. It is unlikely to be cost-effective for them to take legal action especially if you can muddy the waters with a defence. If they persist then I suggest you ask for lots and lots of supporting evidence that they are entitled to the rent charge. The cost of collating it will deter the claimant.


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