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Coppen Estates. . . .Sheffield

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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

Edited by molecularbob

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You could probably take court action for them maliciously and fraudulently invoicing you...

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I know the standard advice is to buy the reversion (? spelling), but we pay £7 a year and have ~800 years still to run, so the costs involved don't look too tempting at the moment. That may change if we need planning for anything, but at the moment we don't.

 

Just want them to stop putting these charges on our bill if they are not valid.

 

---------- Post added 12-04-2018 at 15:38 ----------

 

Maybe I should pay and then open a small claims process to get the money back? That might focus their idea of customer service a little?

Edited by molecularbob

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Just don't pay it is an option of course, paying it would seem to be a backwards step.

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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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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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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/2002/15/part/2/chapter/5

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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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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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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 ----------

 

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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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 ----------

 

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!

Edited by iwbsheff
seplling mistake

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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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