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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 20043
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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Hello, I wonder if you might be able to help me with a Freehold

Resolved Question:

Hello, I wonder if you might be able to help me with a Freehold query?

I purchased a flat nearly 2 years ago, with a quarter share of Freehold attached, alongside 3 other flats in my block. 2 of the flats are owner occupied (including mine) & 2 are rented out by absentee landlords. 1 of them is privately rented, however the other is rented out through the council, as emergency housing.

Prior to my purchase, I was unaware of any issues, however it became very apparent that a previous tenant had been a complete nightmare, furious rows, things being thrown, parties till the early hours & rubbish left in communal areas. This had taken 6 months to resolve, as the landlord absolves himself of any responsibility & it took constant badgering of the council to have them removed. Eventually they agreed to mark it as a 'Sensitive Let'. The woman who moved in was lovely & was a great tenant.

However, she recently moved out & was then replaced by another female tenant, with 2 young children. From the outset she/ they have been a nightmare. From the first day, there were furious rows, to the extent that my neighbours thought there was domestic abuse going on. On one occasion, when it was hot, I overheard a mobile call, during which I heard a man saying he would stab someone the next time he saw someone. Finally on Thursday, at 3am, this man turned up screaming at the top of his voice, demanding to be let in, pressing all the intercom buzzers & generally being very threatening. We called the police.

The landlord of this flat has now said he doesn't need to deal with us, as the council are his 'management Company' & he has now told me not to email him, but deal direct with the council. There is no formal structure for the Freeholders, i.e. there isn't a company set up, just a joint account that we all pay into regularly.

This man's response has been dismissive & arrogant & he's more or less said "See you in court" if I want to do anything about it. He clearly has no regard for those of us who actually live in the block & is renting out through the council because it's easier/ cheaper for him. Is there any legal route we could go down? For instance, if a majority of Freeholders agree, could we get a clause inserted the lease that prohibits rental to the council? We don't have a problem with rental as such, just not through the council, where we have no say over who the tenant is.

Your help would be appreciated.

Marcus.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 12 months ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

Just to clarify, do you rent privately or through the council?
Customer: replied 12 months ago.

Hi There


 


No, I own my flat outright & live in it, so I have a quarter share of the Freehold, along with a lease on my flat.


 


The 2 flats above me are rented out, 1 privately & the other is rented out through the council.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 12 months ago.


You cannot put a clause in the lease of his flat unless he agrees.
You can put them in the leases of all the other flats provided all the
leaseholders agree but not his unless he does.

However he is in breach of covenant not to cause nuisance because
he is allowing it to happen.



My suggestion would be for the freeholder to write to him saying
that unless he abates the nuisance (deals with the scummy tenant), you will
take steps to foreclose on the lease. You will then be seeing him in court!



As you clearly already had an avenue open with the local authority
regarding the earlier tenant, I'm a bit confused as to why you haven't gone
down the same route with this tenant as you did with the earlier one, dealing
with the local authority over it.



Does that answer the question? Can I assist further or answer any
specific queries?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for that. Obviously, we do have recourse to the council. It's just the wheels of the council move very slowly & the last antisocial tenant took 6 months to evict & all the while we have to do the badgering, whilst he sits there collecting rent & inflicts his tenant on the rest of us who actually live here.


 


Would you suggest a solicitor's letter from the Freeholders or a personal one? Based on the responses I received over the weekend to my emails, he's not going to budge an inch on this & has washed his hands of any responsibility for it. I'm guessing going to court will be an expensive option, if we had to go down that route?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 12 months ago.


A solicitors letter always carries more weight. Court can be
expensive and can be risky but provided you win, you will get those costs back
against him.

I appreciate that the wheels of the Council move slowly and there
is no reason not to tell the tenant what you are doing to see whether she
decides that she wants to toe the line. No doubt, she will complain that she is
the victim in this because that is how these people are.

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 20043
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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