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Leasehold property - works being carried out....help!

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Eva_Smith, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    My flat is a leasehold property and today I have had a letter from the housing agency who own the lease saying that they are going to carry out works to block including painting of fascia board, painting of store doors (where these are on my property I have yet to find out) etc.
    Apparently, as leaseholder, I'm expected to bear some of the cost of this, and it could cost up to £250. They say they are going to send me an invoice once the works have been carried out.
    Now I'm unhappy about this on several points:
    1) I haven't got upto £250 to pay for this work
    2) I can't see where the work needs doing, to be honest. The work is aesthetic and non-essential so far as I can tell.
    3) An invoice AFTER the work has been done seems unfair -we all know that people try to shaft us by charging for unnecessary materials. How am I supposed to know what work was and was not carried out and what materials were used/how much labour was involved?

    I realise that it's probably all in the small print somewhere, but as far as I'm aware, a leaseholder is responsible for the external maintenance of the building, not aethetic/decorative work. I'd expect to pay towards having guttering repaired/cleared, building damage fix etc, but not to paint a few doors and fascias.
    Advice?

    Eva x x x
     
  2. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    My flat is a leasehold property and today I have had a letter from the housing agency who own the lease saying that they are going to carry out works to block including painting of fascia board, painting of store doors (where these are on my property I have yet to find out) etc.
    Apparently, as leaseholder, I'm expected to bear some of the cost of this, and it could cost up to £250. They say they are going to send me an invoice once the works have been carried out.
    Now I'm unhappy about this on several points:
    1) I haven't got upto £250 to pay for this work
    2) I can't see where the work needs doing, to be honest. The work is aesthetic and non-essential so far as I can tell.
    3) An invoice AFTER the work has been done seems unfair -we all know that people try to shaft us by charging for unnecessary materials. How am I supposed to know what work was and was not carried out and what materials were used/how much labour was involved?

    I realise that it's probably all in the small print somewhere, but as far as I'm aware, a leaseholder is responsible for the external maintenance of the building, not aethetic/decorative work. I'd expect to pay towards having guttering repaired/cleared, building damage fix etc, but not to paint a few doors and fascias.
    Advice?

    Eva x x x
     
  3. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    assuming that the fascias and doors are made of wood, if they don't get painted they will rot and then you will be writing to protest about a much larger bill

    that's what maintenance is all about - doing things to stop worse things happening
     
  4. I don't see there is much you can do about this, you'll have signed something about this kind of work. Just make sure you're supplied with a thorough breakdown of what's been done.
     

  5. eva
    Sounds cheap, you are just going to have to cough up. It will probably be a while before the bill comes in. It is good that the maintenance is kept up, it is too easy to let it slide when things are tight.
    sorry for being so unsympathetic
     
  6. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    The letter states, however, that and external work carried out will be calculate and divided equally between the properties in the block. My block consists of two storeys, with two flats at either end and two houses in the middle. All are leasehold, although some are rented local authority properties.
    The letter seems to indicate, then, that all work carried out will be divided equally between leasehold occupants. This doesn't seem right, since paintwork could be carried out to a property that has absolutely no bearing on my property at all, for instance, painting and external store door or similar. I'll give them a ring to seek clarification.
    I do wish they'd word things properly instead of sending these extremely casual letters that explain things insufficiently.
     
  7. Check the contract you signed. That's your first port of call.
     
  8. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Lead commenter

    assuming you have checked your small print and such things are in there( please ask for a copy and check) then ask
    for a forcast of all the cost(sort of estimate)
    which proportion of the cost you are paying,as lease holder you should have a shared cost if more than you involved)
    a final invoice detailing the work undertaken
    Depending upon the work being done and the standard of the work £250 is not an unreasonable cost.it would cost you a lot more if you where to do it all yourself.Irrespestive of your belielf that such things dont need doing the owner does.... and as harshie says then regular maintainance does prevent further costs later and stops later expensive bills.
    normally lese holdes arent responsible for external work, but i have known cases her where they have for example had to bear the cost of say a new roof!.if its in the print and you signed..tough!
     
  9. Every property in the block wil benefit by it all looking smart.
     
  10. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    I will never buy leasehold again - but I really wanted the flat as it's lovely so decided to put up with it. I guess I just can't get my head around the part that says:

    "You do not own the land or the building you live in, you have bought the right to live there for a set number of years"
    but then says (I paraphrase)
    "Even though we've just said that WE own the building, YOU still have to pay for it's upkeep, so basically you pay us your ground rent etc every year, and we do *** all, then charge you for anything we do do"
    Seems wholly confusing to me.
     
  11. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Lead commenter

    surely not.....you buy the building and then pay a rent for the land..or have a i really got it wrong.you still cannot make substantial changes to the property without the leeses permission. where they get you is when you sell and they then charge you a fee to transfer the lease or to renew the lease.
     
  12. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Hi everyone, some of you may remember replying on this thread from July 2009. (Thanks, by the way).
    After seeking advice and deciding that it was best to get the works done, guess what happened....the workmen came around and I watched them inspect each property in my cul-de-sac in turn. They inspected, they got up ladders, they painted, their repaired. They got to my property and did nothing.
    Now, two years on, STILL nothing, and things are really in a dire situation. The guttering is rampant with jungle-like debris and the fascia boards are rotten. They need replacing ASAP. Tonight's heavy rain is falling like bullets and my guttering is leaking like crazy. Fun times.
    I called the council during half-term and after being put through to several departments it was decided that the relevant person wasn't in and I would receive a call within 3 days. 7 days later, I got a call from a guy who said he'd sent someone out to inspect on Monday gone and would call me on Tuesday. Surprise, surprise, no call.
    Now I'm wondering: if the guttering needs reparing/replacing and the fascias too, would the cost of this be divided between all flat in the building? I'm the first floor and there's one ground floor flat below me. Would the cost be shared? The lady below me is a council tenant so probably wouldn't have to pay herself, but would my cost be reduced to reflect the fact that the works also benefit the downstairs tenant too? Or am I responsible because the guttering etc is attached to my property? Would the same apply if, for instance, the roof needing replacing?
     
  13. No it should be shared. Fascias surely belong to the whole property just as the roof does.
     
  14. Hi Eva
    Not sure I can really help with your questions but just wondered whether you had any involvement in the management of the building?
    I live in a leasehold flat and the 'directors' of the building are people in the block that have nominated themselves. Most people aren't that interested so out of 15 only 4 of us ever attend, but we then decide things such as the mantainance charge for the year and when things need doing (this has led to lots of disagreement already and sure it will get worse in the future when big decisions need to be made such as painting inside or outside etc). Although we are directors there is a management company too, but they act on decisions we made (I think)
    Seeing as you were issued with a random bill I just wondered if you had been paying a maintainance charge yearly anyway, and whether this would have covered the repairs? (or if like us the pot is still building up so the company had to resort to asking people to cough up)
    It seems fair that living in a building you contribute to the repairs however unfair it seems e.g. I live on the ground floor and the carpets outside my bit will probably need replacing before people on the top floor as everyone walks over this, but everyone will be expected to contribute. Our flats are also split between two buildings and again, as it is the same company, if the other building needs something doing I will still be expected to contribute to that maintainance.
    Hope the problem gets sorted soon
     
  15. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Hi Gremlin,
    My property doesn't belong to one of those new developments with shared internal areas etc. It has its own front door and entrance that no-one else can use. The cul-de-sac has properties on three sides of the square; each side has four properties: two houses in the middle and on either end an upstairs flat and a downstairs. Each has its own private garden.
    I do not expect to have to contribute towards anything that isn't directlt benefitting me and my property since nothing internal is shared in anyway. I don't even have any council-owned external doors/outhouses etc.
    For this, I pay £130(ish) per year. This covers the cost of maintaining the property (supposedly) and ground rent - the last invoice indicated that the ground rent cost just £15, so the rest is supposed to be going towards the maintenance.
    My brother lives in one of those more modern developments. His is a ground floor flat with a shared entrance and communal internal areas. He pays much more than me per year, but this covers the cost of a cleaner who hovers and cleans the internals areas and external doors. Paying more than £600 a year for this service he does expect it to be done well. I was round there once and we heard the cleaner arrive. Five minutes later she left. This is in a 3 storey property containing ten flats. She must be amazing because how she hoovered all those stairs in that time and cleaned bannisters/dusted etc is beyond me(!)
    My issue with paying towards repairing the external building was that, when I called the housing agency to query their letter they told me (word for word), "When you're a leaseholder, we own the external building, you own the internal and the rights to live there". This made me think, "Fine, if I don't own the building, why should I pay for its upkeep?".
    I did agre to the works being carred out anyway, but they did nothing. And now it's in a dire state and needs immediate attention, probably costing more because the guttering is looking pretty damaged: lastnight heavy rain was just cascading through it and hitting the windowsills!
     
  16. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Lead commenter

    Firstly Eva you must get a copy of the lease..read it and see what it says. If you and the person below shar a common lease then it couls be they also have t bear part of the cost of any remedial work.eg of having a roof replaced as its a shared interest
    If you are charagble for external work then it is the responisbility of the leaseholder to carry out that work(albiet with reluctance and slowness)
    If you are chargable for maintainence then you need to address that......
    It sounds as i they are giving you the runaround... so it might be an alternative to issue them a letter stating that you will employ your own staff and require the invoice to be paid to them( lots of guys wont do this unless they have authorisation from the managemt company....myself being one of them).Or you just pay it and put up with the cost..........shouldnt be that expensive depending n the length and height.
    You could try a letter from the solicitors, but again cost.
    In the end you often have no choice bu tto grin and bear it.
     

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