Suing a Freeholder – Anyone with experience?

Suing a Freeholder – Anyone with experience?

14:10 PM, 30th April 2018, About 6 years ago 15

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I would really appreciate any advice on this issue please.  A few years ago due to unemployment and a prolonged period without any rental income, I got into arrears with my service charge. Nothing too big £350.

After resuming the monthly payments and contributed towards the arrears, I noticed discrepancies on my accounts. So I challenged them and provided receipts and bank statements to show the sum owed was no longer £350.

Without any prior warning or the customary “Letter before Action” my Freehold Co. and/or it’s RMA took legal action by issuing a Country Court summons, but not to my home address as held on their files, but to the flat, 200 miles away.

Long story short;  the Court case was cancelled due to many issues including I was able to prove the figure as my arrears was only £150, neither Freeholder nor their RMA had met with LTA in the issuing legally compliant Service Charge demands and the summons being sent to a wrong address.

All parties agreed to this figure as the debt, the solicitors, Freeholder and myself.  It was offered if I paid the £150 all the legal costs/fees would be waiver.

However, following this and for another 2 years I had a “charge” attached to my Leasehold account, showing a debt of £2,500.  But with no reference to its reason.  When I enquired I was told it was their solicitors fees.  When I contacted the solicitors they denied this was so, also saying they had not been paid by anyone.

A further 2 years of my attempts to have this “charge” removed came to nothing. So I had to employ my solicitor, this has cost me over £1200+vat with another law firm to have the charge removed.

Now I am really struggling to claim my legal expenses back off my Freeholder. They have Professional Indemnity cover and the insurer’s solicitors are digging in with all manner of denials and bull.

Any help or advice would be welcomed, please?  Oh yeah, been down the road of the far from helpful Lease Advisory Service, (joke).

Many thanks,


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11:23 AM, 13th May 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 13/05/2018 - 04:10
I am a landlord of many years.
You should read sections 47,48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act,
Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002, (s153).
You should have been advised of your legal rights should there be a breach of any of the above.

I wish you all the best as regards your matter.


14:59 PM, 13th May 2018, About 6 years ago

Thank you Trevor, I really appreciate your advice and I shall have a look into this. I would think from what you ve said, that you are either a solicitor, or involved in the leasehold/freehold business, correct? As I don't want to go off all guns blazing if this is not 100% correct. It's very strange how two separate solicitors working for me never mentioned this possibility. As I have had no, zero S C demands since 2005.

Thank you,


8:16 AM, 16th May 2018, About 6 years ago

Hi Trevor, I ve read over my Lease and there is no clause nor provision for recovery of legal expenses. So please could you tell me would I be able to seek a claim at FTT for unreasonable charge. Or if not who and how can I " claw back" those Service Charges I ve paid when no SC demands were ever provided?

Thank you kindly,


10:56 AM, 16th May 2018, About 6 years ago

It is very difficult to give an answer in the absence of papers in your case. If there is no recovery clause you would need a good working knowledge of s19 LTA 1985.
I do not understand how you were paying service charges "not demanded". Any illegal demand/payment is recoverable.
At a FTT hearing you can make an application under s20c LTA 1985 to limit the amount of costs to be recovered through the service charge.
You are now deep into what can be a complex area of law. You would need to seek proper legal advice prior to embarking on any form of litigation.The costs implications need to be fully understood.
Hope the above helps.


12:34 PM, 19th May 2018, About 6 years ago

Hello again Trevor, I ve read all the various information and articles on the internet regards to the Govt legislation. Of which the majority I was reasonable ofey with. Most or nearly all of what you ve said is supported in these. Thank you once more.
So I wrote to my Freeholder requesting copies of their previous SC demands together with the required accompanying literature going back 6 years. They replied with a refusal, asking why was I seeking this "when it's been paid already and thats that". Which is the best response I could have hoped for. As I have already reported them 6 months ago to my local council P.S.H for refusing to supply me with Insurance policies, accounts and receipts. Also they paid for Directors & Officers professional indemnity insurance out of our bank account, this was AFTER I had started litigation against them. But again they refused to provide me the Schedule of Cover.
So Trevor in answer to your earlier question, the reason why I always paid regardless of the absence of SC demands.... I believed it to be fair, honest and correct. I knew that it was required and until they became such a***holes towards me, I had no issue with this. Or them.
Thank you I am most grateful.

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