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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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LEASE HOLDER, I PURCHASED THE PROPERTY IN 2007 WITH A 125

Customer Question

I AM A LEASE HOLDER, I PURCHASED THE PROPERTY IN 2007 WITH A 125 YEAR LEASE.THERE IS A LARGE FLAT ROOF IN THE PROPERTY WHICH IS NOT DEMISED TO ME BUT IS FOR MY SOLE USE. MY OBLIGATIONS FOR MAINTAINING THIS ROOF IS FOR THE SURFACE OF THE ROOF ONLY - NOTHING STRUCTURAL. WHEN I MOVED IN,
THE LANDLORD DEMANDED THAT I RESURFACE THIS ROOF, WHICH I DID. I PAID SOME £3500 TO DO THIS. AS THE ROOF IS NOT DEMISED TO MY PROPERTY THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BUILDING COST SPLIT AMONGST THE FIVE FLATS.THIS ROOF HAS BEEN LEAKING SINCE 2008. THE LANDLORD /FREEHOLDERS HAVE NEVER TAKEN ANY ACTION TO REPAIR IT. THEY COMMISSIONED A SURVEY OF THE ROOF IN 2013 (SEE
BELOW) WHICH CLEARLY POINTED OUT THAT THEIR NEGLECT OF THIS ROOF HAS CAUSED SEVERE STRUCTURAL DAMAGEDISREPAIR ISSUES 20.12.07 TO PRESENT:
165 BATTERSEA RISE LONDON SW11 1HP
FLAT ROOF, FLAT DThis flat roof has been a major problem since 2008. In heavy rain, the water ponds up on the flat roof and leaks into the kitchen below and into the small studio which is adjacent to the flat roof. This repeat ingress of water has badly damaged the interior of the kitchen, the sitting room and the studio. The leak was originally over the area by the sink, but because it has never been repaired, it now leaks across the entire length of the bulkhead with recessed lighting in the kitchen.
Each time the leak occurs, I report it to the managing agent, who does nothing. First complained to landlord: 09.2008 Action taken by landlord: Sent a surveyor to view roof: 08.2013In October, 2012, a second leak occurred in a different area of the flat roof. This caused a flood directly over the three seater sofa and a very large original painting behind the sofa. I reported this to Block Management, and I took the precaution of informing Adian Gallagher in Flat A of the leak - the terrace of flat A is to the left of the flat roof.
Block Management did not respond to this call, nor did they respond to any subsequent calls about the new leak.First complained to landlord: 10.2012 Action taken by landlord: Sent a surveyor, Keegsns, to view roof: 08.2013FROM APPENDIX 17 KEEGANS GROUP - SURVEY REPORT“Both properties condition appeared commensurate with it’s last programme of cyclical repairs and redecoration, and it was felt that this was some considerable time ago,and the repairs obligations assumed to be included in the lease have not been adhered to.”“On assessment externally, it became immediately clear that the entire single story and the upvc conservatory had been laid and installed with little consideration to Building Control Standards or even industry standard best practice, and it appeared to be a very poorly executed piece of ‘DIY’ style construction.”“Here (roof flat D) we recommend that the rear asphalt roof and decking be stripped back and joists exposed, prior to replacing the roof to modern standards, including an equal or equivalent waterproof system such as asphalt or the like, with all the correct
falls and install details, as per current standards require, including improving suitable insulation levels.”
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I HAVE JUST RETURNED HOME FROM THE STATES (MY MUM DIED IN JUNE AND I HAVE BEEN CARING FOR MY DAD)
AND THE ROOF IS NOW LEAKING SO BADLY IT IS PROBABLY UNSAFE TO STAND UNDER. THIS RENDERS MY KITCHEN
(PROFESSIONALLY DESIGNED AND USED AS A FILM LOCATION AND VENUE FOR COOKERY CLASSES AND DEMOS)
USELESS - WHICH CUTS OUT HALF MY ANNUAL INCOME. I AM 61, WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER IN 2016 AND NOW HAVE PELVIC RADIATION DISEASE AND LYMPHOEDEMA AS A RESULT OF THE SURGERY AND RADIATION TREATMENT.
I AM STILL UNDERGOING CARE @ THE ROYAL MARSDEN IN CHELSEA, AND I CAN NO LONGER PERSUE MY OTHER OCCUPATION AS A COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGNER BECAUSE BEING ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE ALL DAY IS TOO PHYSICALLY DEMANDING.
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

  1. I am sorry to read of the above. May I ask if you have confirmed in your lease that the landlord is responsible for the roof in question?
  2. If the landlord is responsible have you asked the landlord in writing as to why they are not attending to their maintenance obligations?
  3. How many flats are in the building roughly? Is there dissatisfaction amongst other tenants as to the landlords maintenance of the building?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
1. see lease for 165 battersea rise pg 16. I also have a solicitors letter in the purchase documents describing this clause of the lease.2. I complained originally to the landlord from whom I bought the property. there were many other issues with the lack of maintenance of the entire building, so I formed a residents association and the tenants took him to the lvl which awarded some £5000 in unreasonable service charges. the residents association (I was the chair) then went on to try and purchase the freehold. no one did anything in the residents association except me, so I had a meeting and told them all we didn't have a hope in hell of obtaining the freehold if they did not participate in the necessary tasks. I assigned tasks; insurance quotes, filing accounts, researching managing agents etc.......while I was on a business trip in Pakistan, the accounts were not filed on time and all the leaseholders had to pay a fine. when I came back from Pakistan, the freehold company was about to be struck off at companies house. I was furious and quit the residents association. the remaining leaseholders purchased the freehold without offering me the opportunity, even though at the time of purchase I was still listed as chair of the association in the companies house records.I then started complaining to the new freeholders about this roof - and they knew the entire history of it, but they ignored each report of a leak (there are several). when they appointed a managing agent, I complained about the roof to them. no action. I also complained directly to the to the owner of flat A - Freeholder Tom Wheaton - and I have never received any response.I then complained to the current managing agents about the leaks, but still receive no response.3. There are 4 flats in the part of the building that is 165 battersea rise. there is one flat in the part of the building that is 163.
the flat in 163 is uninhabitable due to old and rising damp (the last tenants there told me this) and the rising damp is very badly affecting the largest structural wall in my ground floor.if the roof is not attended to immediately, it will probably collapse at some time over the winter months. the the most recent survey done says very clearly it is structurally unsound; originally to the construction being of a sub-standard diy type, and there is a survey from 2005 (predating my purchase) that says there were structural problems with the roof that needed immediate attention.I am ill; I have not been able to work since early 2016.I came home from the hospital on 31.08.17 to find the common parts hallway have been re-decorated (very badly) and I did not receive any notice of this.so they pretty up a hallway, but leave a major structural roof area to collapse?
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.

Thank you. There are a large number of issues here from what you say. First there is the questio as to whether your rights of first refusal in respect of the freehold have been breached. If the freehold was bought without informing you you may be entitled to acquire a share of the freehold at the value that was then paid for it.

Second if the landlord is failing to carry out its repairing obligations then you may need to consider an application for specific performance under the terms of the lease in order to require it to do so. Such an application can be made to the County Court. You may also need to consider an application under s20C Landlord and Tenant Act to prevent the landlord charging its legal costs in connection with such application against you.

You will likely need to consider instructing a solicitor formally to assist you with the above applications if they have to go to court but I would be happy to review the lease and prepare a notice of intended claim against the landlord if you wish which may be sufficient to encourage them to act without recourse to the courts if they are clearer on their obligations.. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance in this respect.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.

I'm just following up on our above conversation. I hope the above was of some assistance. Please let me know if you have any further queries. If you have a moment I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service or alternatively just provide some brief feedback so I know if I was able to help. I'd be most grateful. All the best

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 month ago.

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service to you today. I am very grateful to receive any feedback.