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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 14:49
Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?
 
 
Basically my leasehold states who is responsible for what part of the maintenance. If it's a shared area it is split, if it is private then area it is 100% to the resident.

The Freeholder owns the private front garden (our door is at the rear). She has just had her front gate repaired at a cost of £450 and reckons it is a shared cost as it is an access route for scaffolders should maintenance be required at the front of the building.

Does that sound like a shared cost?
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flute_loop Posted on 17/07/2017 14:54

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
It should be all detailed in the lease.
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weemoby Posted on 17/07/2017 14:57

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
I know I'm not helping out with your query here, but that sounds like one hell of an expensive gate!
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 14:57

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
yeah that was my thoughts - I was thinking she is trying to pull a fast one
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 15:04

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
two new concrete gate posts buried into the ground.

I am presuming a garden wall would not be classed as a building external wall?
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newusername Posted on 17/07/2017 15:25

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
Is there a plan attached to the lease?
A property description in it?
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 15:32

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
there is a plan but it does not show the private garden at the front or the wall/gate in question. It does show the communal areas at the rear mind.
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Boro_Boro_Boro Posted on 17/07/2017 15:36

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
Id tell her to Jog on.

Front gate is in the front garden. if its not listed on the lease specifically then thats her XXXXXX out of luck
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fridgeman Posted on 17/07/2017 16:17

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
Even if you did need to pay half it should have been agreed before the job was done and with three or four estimates, if they have gone ahead without your knowing then they really shouldnt have.
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 16:20

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
She called me about an hour before the works commenced.

As it was routine maintenance and not an emergency repair she surely must have known about this beforehand.

I hate this whole leasehold lark!
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coluka Posted on 17/07/2017 16:21

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
Fencing will be designated responsibility in leases. If it aint in yours, it has nowt to do with you.

Do you access via a path through her garden? If so it might be joint. If your access is seperate and only she has right of access at front, then likely hers, but the lease will say.
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 16:26

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
The building has three apartments and one of these is hers. We access our apartment via the rear of the building and that access pass is communal with a shared costs.

The gate in contention is at the other side of the building which is private access to her garden but she sees the wall and gate as part of the original building hence us a cost to us. There is also a tree in her garden which is subject to tree preservation order so she charges us to maintain this tree (which is £550 per year divided by three) - another area which I am currently disputing!
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Boro_Boro_Boro Posted on 17/07/2017 16:36

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
WTF is she doing to the tree that costs £550 a year! [:O]
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coluka Posted on 17/07/2017 16:45

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
If it is her garden solely and the tree in it, it will be her responsibility surely. I can not see how that can be your responsibility if it is not stated so in the leasehold agreement

Does the boundary fencing get any comment in your agreement. Additionally ask to see her agreement that states it is joint. On the face of it I would check both agreements out closely and then go from there. If she refuses to show you her agreement then dont play ball until proof is provided.
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boromike85 Posted on 17/07/2017 16:49

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
If you are happy to not have a gate and she chooses to have one then surely that is her responsibility. Sounds like she's just trying to squeeze as much out of you as possible.

What is being done to a tree for £550 a year!
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coluka Posted on 17/07/2017 16:53

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
Leashold charges are notoriously expensive on modern developments thesedays. Do you know if the tree definitely has a TPO on it?
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 21:25

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
Yeah i've seen the TPO - basically it's like a listed status for a tree so it can't be cut down and the owner must maintain it. The thing is so big that it requires two guys a whole day to cut and trim it each year hence the £550 fee.
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Greenandblack Posted on 17/07/2017 22:35

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
You need to read the lease to see what is stipulated there. Also you need to consider whether anyone visiting your flat does, or could use the gate. Finally you need to consider whether maintaining good relations with the freeholder is worth more than £450.

I doubt the freeholder would be able to claim that you are required to pay to maintain a gate you don't use just because it might be used by people maintaining the building, but chack the lease.
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 17/07/2017 22:54

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
The gate only leads to the freeholders garden and her rear door. It is impossible to access my apartment so no guests or visitors could use it anyway.

She has really spat her dummy out with me over it and i doubt we'll ever be on talking terms again now.

To be honest i never actually disputed the cost, i only asked her to point to the section of the lease agreement that states that i am liable to pay a share of the gate cost.
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StanleySmiith Posted on 17/07/2017 23:32

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
As already stated you need to read and understand your lease terms. If the terms are onerous you should contact your conveyancing solicitors for advice.

Generally speaking, it would be unwise to fall out with the Freeholder of the building. What is the view of the other Leaseholder?
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Rishworthian Posted on 17/07/2017 23:48

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
In this situation the lease is key.

In essence if it is covered then you have to If it is not covered you do not have to.

There is little discretion in a well written lease.

I hope it is not service charge provisions because that can be a nightmare to dispute

At the end of the day you may have to decide if the cost of what you are being asked is greater than the cost of going to court. Accept also that if you go to court you may lose the landlords good will

Definitely tricky but the lease is "key"
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newusername Posted on 18/07/2017 07:07

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
What is the description of the property in the lease?

What does the lease say about repairs to the external structure of the property, the roof etc?

The fact that you are paying for maintenance to the tree in her garden, a non-shared area, does indicate that you do have financial obligations over & above maintaining private areas & paying towards shared areas or she's pulled the wool over your eyes before.


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Anonymous_coward Posted on 18/07/2017 09:00

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
The maintenance section of the lease states:

“TO PAY AND CONTRIBUTE ONE FOURTH OF THE EXPENSE OF REPAIRING, REBUILDING, AND CLEANING THE ROOF, THE MAIN TIMBERS, EXTERNAL WALLS, PARTY WALLS, SEWERS, DRAINS, GUTTERS, RAINWATER DOWNPIPES, EXTERNAL PIPES, CABLES AND OTHER THINGS THE USE OF WHICH IS COMMON TO THE DEMISED PREMISES AND OTHER PREMISES”

Also the building plan included within the leasehold agreement terminates at the front external wall of the building and does not detail anything beyond that.

As for the other leaseholder he has a genuine fear of the freeholder as she can be quite aggressive and he's very uncomfortable with confrontation
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newusername Posted on 18/07/2017 09:30

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
“TO PAY AND CONTRIBUTE ONE FOURTH OF THE EXPENSE OF REPAIRING ... OTHER THINGS THE USE OF WHICH IS COMMON TO THE DEMISED PREMISES AND OTHER PREMISES”

"The Freeholder ... has just had her front gate repaired at a cost of £450 and reckons it is a shared cost as it is an access route for scaffolders should maintenance be required at the front of the building."

You can see what she's doing.

Do you get free legal cover as part of your home insurance? If not, it may be worth considering the cost/benefit of paying/not paying £112.50 before deciding on the course of action to take.

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Anonymous_coward Posted on 18/07/2017 12:58

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
"OTHER THINGS THE USE OF WHICH IS COMMON TO THE DEMISED PREMISES AND OTHER PREMISES”

The front gate is not common to the other properties. Isn't a common area a shared area so for example communal hallways, etc.?

Our entrance gate is on the other side of the building
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newusername Posted on 18/07/2017 13:47

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
From the extract supplied the agreement is silent on boundary walls/fences, so it is dependent upon the interpretation of "...USE OF WHICH IS COMMON...".

Is ad hoc use of a gate by a contractor undertaking a repair on behalf of the freeholder & leaseholders sufficient to trigger that?

You say no, she says yes.

There may be existing case law on that, idk. So like I said, if you can get some free legal advice via a union or an insurer take it & see what they say.
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Anonymous_coward Posted on 18/07/2017 14:25

Anyone have experience of leasehold/freehold disputes?

 
I am arranging a telephone discussion with the leasehold advisory body and will ask them the question.

Sometimes we get a bit too heated during these moments and become a bit self obsessed without playing Devils advocate so thanks for the comments.

One thing I didn't mention is that the building roof access is only possible via my apartment. But I have to let contractors climb through my apartment and can't charge any additional maintenance cost for this. It just all seems a little one sided to me.

My neighbour downstairs has rented his apartment out 8 times over the past 10 years and all his tenants have moved out citing the reason that the freeholder is unreasonable.... it kind of says something I guess!
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