Is there a way to challenge a demand for payment for roof repairs from a leasehold property owner's council, after the sale of the property, if the council never invoiced the owner for the repairs? | LawHive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
Is there a way to challenge a demand for payment for roof repairs from a leasehold property owner's council, after the sale of the property, if the council never invoiced the owner for the repairs?
I own a leasehold flat which I am selling, as the expenses on the service charge became too great, even to sustain when renting the property out. I paid my service charge faithfully according to the invoices given. I found out through the buyers solicitor that the council who own the exterior of my property who I pay service charge to are demanding that I pay around £5800 for the repair of the roof to the block of flats which was carried out 3 years ago. This is a sizable chunk of the sale proceeds and impacts my future plans for after the sale of the property. Not once did they ever invoice me for the roof repair which I would expect to come out of the ever- increasing service charge. In fact in the summer the council told me I was up to date on all my payments. This turned out to be untrue as they now want me to pay this amount of money in in order for me to sell. If I don't pay, I can't sell. I have never seen an invoice and they have never told me about the plan to reclaim costs or show how it is distributed amongst the other flat owners/ council tenants. I am not in a financial position right now to refuse to pay and lose the sale ( I understand it could take months of investigation ) but there must be a way I can challenge them after the sale? I want to threaten to do that because they have NEVER invoiced me but are taking the advantage of my sale to extract money ( the is probably paying the share of the council tenants in surrounding flats) Has they done that I could have included that factor into the price of the sale. I feel cheated and forced to pay bribe money -almost. They know I'll have to pay it because I can't afford to fight it this end of the sale. I have heard of such a situation happening to leseholders before and this is morally wrong. They should have been upfront about these cost from the moment the roof repairs were made. My solicitor is only concerned with the sale of the house and won't help me fight this ( fair play I'm only paying him for the sale of the house) but he agrees that what they are doing is wrong . However he has offered me no solutions. What can I do to make a stand and not let this happen to anyone else? How can I fight this?

Charles Smith

1st April 2022

3 upvotes

Top Answer
NQ your lease should say whether your landlord can recover the costs in full or must do an annual service charge. You need a copy of your lease You can get this from the land registry or your bank should hold a copy. And you should speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible. https:// www.lease-advice .org/ advice-guide/ service-charges- other-issues/

George Schwieger

1st April 2022

1 upvote

NQ the council have to provide to with a schedule of costs. They lay out all the coming costs etc. You are responsible for a share of all major works and you cant opt out but they do have to tell you. How long have you owned the property? As that will determine how bullish you can be.

Jeanne Metts

1st April 2022

Nq . 3 years ago? Surely they have to follow section 20 . They can only bill you for the last 18 months.

Ricardo Burleson

1st April 2022

2 upvotes

NQ but currently doing Chartered Institute of Housing. Was there consultation before the work was done? Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenants act refers. They must:  Write to leaseholders describing the proposed works.  Explain why the works are necessary.  Give an estimate of total cost. This should consider any available sinking fund/reserved fund built up by leaseholder contributions. This may not cover all the works.  Give people who will be affected time to comment on the proposed works/estimate etc. They must be given up to 30 days for comment.  Once received all comments must be given consideration and responded to.

Arthur Mills

1st April 2022

1 upvote

NQ but Chartered Institute of Housing L3 qualified. If no section 20 consultation was undertaken as per Arthur Mills post above - The most you can be charged is £250 and that is chargeable within 18 months of the work being completed. (You said you think you're being charged for the whole lot as others are council tenants - Note. If the S20 had been carried out, you would pay a % of whatever your lease states, not for the complete roof (eg if 4 flats in the block, normally leasehold % would be 25% so you'd be charged 25% of the cost of the roof and if that % is over £250, a S20 consultation must be done for them to charge you) If 3 years ago and no S20 notices received, they can't charge you. Call/email so you have in writing, to the person that deals with leaseholders/ sends you your annual leasehold service charge invoice and ask them to provide evidence of the 3 x S20 notices that were sent to you. If they can't, advise them of the situation and that they are providing incorrect information in connection with the sale of your property that is jeopardising the sale and they need to remedy the situation immediately. If they fail to do so or are able to provide the 3 x S20 notices (must be all 3, not just the 1st one) which you did not receive, advise you are putting your complaint in writing and will be escalating the matter further to First Tier Tribunal for them to investigate. I'm certain this course of action will remedy the situation, get confirmation in writing that no s20 was completed and so therefore, no charges are to be applied to you and you owe nothing. The link above to Leasehold Advisory Service (lwww.lease-advi ce.org) will tell you all the information as well. (In addition, any monies owing as current leaseholder would normally need to be made prior to completion so will have to be dealt with before you sell but if you follow the above steps, this should be straightforward and not delay your sale). Hope that helps

Bobby Swanner

1st April 2022

+5

8 upvotes

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