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12-04-2018, 16:12   #161
molecularbob
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I have no intention of paying, just want them to stop billing me. Small claims court after paying seems like a nice big lever to make them stop. Not responding to polite written requests deserves a bit of a slap from my point of view, especially if their request has no legal basis.
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12-04-2018, 16:39   #162
geared
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Pay what you owe, don't pay them more and try to claw it back.

I doubt they'll bother to properly argue the toss.
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12-04-2018, 17:08   #163
Jeffrey Shaw
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1. If a valid s.164 Notice is served every year, the landlord (reversioner) cannot:
a. insist on compliance with the insurance covenant; and
b. charge any fee for waiving the covenant.

2. If a valid s.166 ground rent demand is not issued by or on behalf of the landlord (reversioner), the rent is effectively suspended- i.e. it's not payable unless and until a valid demand is served (at which time all suspended rent becomes payable again).

See Chapter 5 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...rt/2/chapter/5
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13-04-2018, 07:29   #164
Cyclone
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Is the s.166 demand made invalid by the reversioner incorrectly ignoring the S.164?

ie molecularbob could ignore the entire bill and pay nothing until they invoice him correctly.
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13-04-2018, 19:58   #165
andycee
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Firstly, great thread, lots of good advice. I can't find an answer to the question I have, so here goes.

I today got a invoice from Coppen for the ground rent and also an annual insurance charge for this year and for Sep 2018 - 2019 too.

We bought the house in September last year and our conveyancer never mentioned anything about insurance charges or notice of cover etc. Just that the ground rent was 6.

Our lease is from 1922 and I can't see anything about requiring a certain insurer, although it;s fairly hard to read.

Is it likely such a covenant would be in a lease of this age?

Is it worth me writing to Coppen and asking where in the lease the covenant is? Is it possible they blanket include the charge with checking the lease?

Thanks, Andy
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15-04-2018, 17:18   #166
Jeffrey Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone View Post
Is the s.166 demand made invalid by the reversioner incorrectly ignoring the S.164?

ie molecularbob could ignore the entire bill and pay nothing until they invoice him correctly.
No, the two issues are quite separate.
If the s.166 demand includes an insurance-consent fee not lawfully due, don't pay that fee. If the demand is otherwise valid, just pay the ground rent lawfully due.
But I've never yet seen a s.166 demand issued by Coppen!

---------- Post added 15-04-2018 at 17:19 ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by andycee View Post
We bought the house in September last year and our conveyancer never mentioned anything about insurance charges or notice of cover etc. Just that the ground rent was 6.

Our lease is from 1922 and I can't see anything about requiring a certain insurer, although it;s fairly hard to read.

Is it likely such a covenant would be in a lease of this age?

Is it worth me writing to Coppen and asking where in the lease the covenant is? Is it possible they blanket include the charge with checking the lease?
No; Coppen is hardly impartial! Better to ask your conveyancer to tell you about the insurance covenant- that's what you pay him/her for.
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16-04-2018, 15:40   #167
iwbsheff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by molecularbob View Post
Just received another ground rent request from Coppen that includes charges for not using their required insurer. I have issued them with what I believe to be a valid s.164 Notice for each insurance period,including a copy of the insurance documents, always within the required notice period and by registered post. Is there any way to get them to remove these charges from our bill or to explain why they think the S.164 notices are not valid? The outstanding amount of charges is around 250.00 now. We always pay the ground rent component by cheque and these are cashed, so we know they are in receipt of our covering letter asking for these charges to be removed.

Ian B

I had this same problem - despite issuing the S164, registered post etc they obviously took no notice.

I sent one polite letter "if this is an administrative error please update your records etc"

Still got another bill the next year

I sent a strongly worded letter, full details of the law I'd used, quoted the ambiguity of my lease, cited my right to peaceful enjoyment of my property and one more fraudulent invoice would result in legal action.

Next year...no mention of insurance charges.

The thing was, they have you over a barrel, I've said this before upthread, it's fine you knowing your position but they'll just try it on scaring a potential buyer (if/when you sell) that somehow you're in the wrong and if your buyer's solicitor isn't clued up....

This persuaded us that for the money involved we'd just buy the freehold up (we also had c. 800 years to go, 4 ground rent).

Want to know how my story ended? Coppen didn't even own the bloody freehold reversion!

I bought the freehold off the actual owners then got a refund from my original conveyancers for assuming Coppen were the leaseholders on the say so of the previous owners who'd been shipping them 35 a year for no legal reason. The cheeky beggars made up a story about it being a mistake because they were collecting ground rent on behalf of a neighbouring property (a fact disproved by my own solicitor).

---------- Post added 16-04-2018 at 15:47 ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by andycee View Post
Firstly, great thread, lots of good advice. I can't find an answer to the question I have, so here goes.

I today got a invoice from Coppen for the ground rent and also an annual insurance charge for this year and for Sep 2018 - 2019 too.

We bought the house in September last year and our conveyancer never mentioned anything about insurance charges or notice of cover etc. Just that the ground rent was 6.

Our lease is from 1922 and I can't see anything about requiring a certain insurer, although it;s fairly hard to read.

Is it likely such a covenant would be in a lease of this age?

Is it worth me writing to Coppen and asking where in the lease the covenant is? Is it possible they blanket include the charge with checking the lease?

Thanks, Andy
It's tricky, our lease (admittedly older than yours c. 1870s) said that the property should be "... insure or cause to be insured the same in an amount equal to three forths of the value thereof in his or their name or names in some responsible insurance office..."

I took this as not implying they couldn't direct my insurance (and I wonder what my mortgage provider would think of me insuring it to 3/4ths of its value...) and thought the burden of proof should be on them. But its ambiguous...so I sent a s164 anyway. If you're unsure, as Jeffrey says the only recourse it proper legal opinion. Although it's a bind, an hour of solicitors time is going to be several times their charges...so they know a lot of people will shrug and think it's cheaper to just settle up with them.

It's obvious they don't read individual leases because their invoices to us also had a grave sounding note about charges for extensions, improvements etc. There was no mention of any such covenant in our lease. Well, apart from a restriction on installing windows in the east or west elevations, which, given we're a terrace might have been a problem with the neighbours....

Don't let them grind you down!

Last edited by iwbsheff; 16-04-2018 at 15:56. Reason: seplling mistake
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16-04-2018, 16:45   #168
Cyclone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey Shaw View Post
No, the two issues are quite separate.
If the s.166 demand includes an insurance-consent fee not lawfully due, don't pay that fee. If the demand is otherwise valid, just pay the ground rent lawfully due.
But I've never yet seen a s.166 demand issued by Coppen!
Is invoicing someone different to a valid S.166? Should leaseholders ignore anything that isn't an official S.166?
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17-04-2018, 16:38   #169
Jeffrey Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone View Post
Is invoicing someone different to a valid S.166? Should leaseholders ignore anything that isn't an official S.166?
Yes. Here's precisely what s.166 says (with my underlining):

166. Requirement to notify long leaseholders that rent is due

(1) A tenant under a long lease of a dwelling is not liable to make a payment of rent under the lease unless the landlord has given him a notice relating to the payment; and the date on which he is liable to make the payment is that specified in the notice.

(2) The notice must specify:
(a) the amount of the payment,
(b) the date on which the tenant is liable to make it, and
(c) if different from that date, the date on which he would have been liable to make it in accordance with the lease,
and shall contain any such further information as may be prescribed.


(3) The date on which the tenant is liable to make the payment must not be:
(a) either less than 30 days or more than 60 days after the day on which the notice is given, or
(b) before that on which he would have been liable to make it in accordance with the lease.

(4) If the date on which the tenant is liable to make the payment is after that on which he would have been liable to make it in accordance with the lease, any provisions of the lease relating to non-payment or late payment of rent have effect accordingly.

(5) The notice:
(a) must be in the prescribed form, and
(b) may be sent by post.

(6) If the notice is sent by post, it must be addressed to a tenant at the dwelling unless he has notified the landlord in writing of a different address in England and Wales at which he wishes to be given notices under this section (in which case it must be addressed to him there).

(7) In this section “rent” does not include:
(a) a service charge (within the meaning of section 18(1) of the 1985 Act), or
(b) an administration charge (within the meaning of Part 1 of Schedule 11 to this Act).

(8 ) In this section “long lease of a dwelling” does not include:
(a) a tenancy to which Part 2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (c. 56) (business tenancies) applies,
(b) a tenancy of an agricultural holding within the meaning of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (c. 5) in relation to which that Act applies, or
(c) a farm business tenancy within the meaning of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (c. 8 ).

(9) In this section:
“dwelling” has the same meaning as in the 1985 Act,
“landlord” and “tenant” have the same meanings as in Chapter 1 of this Part,
“long lease” has the meaning given by sections 76 and 77 of this Act, and
“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the appropriate national authority.
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18-04-2018, 09:09   #170
Cyclone
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It's quite likely that a regular invoice will meet those requirements though. :-(
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19-04-2018, 17:07   #171
Jeffrey Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone View Post
It's quite likely that a regular invoice will meet those requirements though.
No, that's not automatically so- unless each invoice complies with s.166 and features the statutory Notes for Tenants.

Note one other point: Coppen penalises late/non-paying tenants (leaseholders) @ 10 per year. However, based on s.166(1), a rent not lawfully due cannot be the subject of any 'late payment' allegation. Nobody receives a s.166 Notice from Coppen, so nobody should pay it that penalty fee.
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