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Coppen Estates. . . .Sheffield

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Thanks for the info - and thanks for the summary as I'm afraid I can't make head nor tail of legalese!!

 

Briefly, that means as follows:

1. L cannot refuse/delay consent to an alteration that improves the property.

2. L cannot charge a lump sum fee.

3. L can charge only its properly-incurred legal and administrative fees for issuing consent.

 

With regard to point 3 - could they not argue that this charge (£300) is to cover their costs for legal and administrative fees?

 

If you could advise me on the simplest and easiest way to proceed I'd be very grateful. (obviously I'd prefer not to pay the £300 but would do if it's all above board and legal... it's just that I get the feeling that they're trying to see if they can make some easy cash out of us.....)

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With regard to point 3 - could they not argue that this charge (£300) is to cover their costs for legal and administrative fees?

Yes, although Coppen never puts it that way. £300 for issuing a letter is not a 'proper' administrative fee, in my view.

 

If you could advise me on the simplest and easiest way to proceed I'd be very grateful. (obviously I'd prefer not to pay the £300 but would do if it's all above board and legal... it's just that I get the feeling that they're trying to see if they can make some easy cash out of us.....)

Yes, that's Coppen's business model.

 

Why not spend a bit more and buy the freehold reversion once and for all?

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"With regard to point 3 - could they not argue that this charge (£300) is to cover their costs for legal and administrative fees?"

 

The thing is, you could send them a letter saying "Get lost, no admin charges are due under my lease, you can take me to court if you disagree and a judge will decide whether £300 is a reasonable cost for a letter"

 

But they won't because the court costs (and chance of losing) is worth more than the £300 they want as a one off charge. But likewise they know you won't take them to leasehold tribunal to determine the terms of the lease because it would cost you in excess of the £300 they want to just go away.

 

If you're sure of your legal position you can send them a strongly worded letter and they'll back down. But what happens when (if) you come to sell? They'll try and convince your buyer that something untoward has happened, they might take fright. In our case it was an 'insurance approval charge' - not mandated by our lease. I got them to cease their demands in the end, quoting the leasehold reform act, my right to quiet enjoyment of my property and so on but I had no doubt that they'd make life difficult for us when we came to sell on. As such we decided to buy the freehold, although again, although the value of the lease is low (c. £100) with legal costs this is more than the £45 a year they wanted to approve our insurance (and would be more than the £300 one off fee they want from you to go away). Like Jeffrey says, this is their business model. And it stinks.

 

I wrote to my MP about this business model trying to raise the wider point of the way Coppen were operating in Sheffield, but they treated it as casework and said if I was sure my legal position was sound, why was I worried.

 

If you really want to get into it, there's been a series on the 'feudal hangover' of leasehold in the Guardian recently https://www.theguardian.com/money/leasehold

 

I also found http://www.lease-advice.org/ a useful site. They give free advice.

 

PS. I should say this does not represent legal advice as I'm not qualified in law in any way. Just what I've learnt from going through the process myself.

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If you've got the money for an extension then you've easily got the money to buy the freehold reversion (which is only a fraction of the cost of an extension).

 

Buy the freehold reversion first, then do the extension.

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Coppen Estates want to charge me about £300 for "permission" to have a one storey extension built on my home. Is this standard practice? Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of this - any advice etc gratefully received!

 

No such fee is payable or even lawful.

Why? Well, let's look at s.19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927...

I need to post one semi-correction.

What I posted earlier is true, BUT the Act speaks of 'the making of improvements'.

 

It might be that that your extension proposal does not constitute an improvement, e.g. if that word is deemed to mean 'improving something that is already there'. Possibly an extension would not fall within the definition. Your solicitor would need to research caselaw to see what has been found to come within the definition and what hasn't.

 

I hope that this refinement assists you and I'm sorry for not having made it sufficiently clear before.

 

---------- Post added 21-05-2017 at 15:29 ----------

 

If you've got the money for an extension then you've easily got the money to buy the freehold reversion (which is only a fraction of the cost of an extension).

 

Buy the freehold reversion first, then do the extension.

Yes, that would avoid the definition problem arising too.

 

---------- Post added 21-05-2017 at 15:30 ----------

 

If you really want to get into it, there's been a series on the 'feudal hangover' of leasehold in the Guardian recently

Leasehold tenure is not a feudal consequence.

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"Leasehold tenure is not a feudal consequence."

 

Their words not mine, although quoting from memory I garbled it. They actually open one of the articles

 

"Millions of people in England and Wales are living under "quasi-feudal" leasehold laws "

 

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/aug/20/leasehold-property-laws-sweeping-reform-thinktank

 

The 'hangover' phrase appeared in a different article from way back.

 

"If the freehold/leasehold ownership of property is a hangover from a feudal system, it is only right that it is due for an overhaul. "

 

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/1999/jan/16/features.jobsmoney8

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'Feudal' remnants do occasionally arise but not in any bad sense. They include the Crown's ultimate title to all land (inc. foreshore) in and surrounding the UK (by reason of which a freehold that is forfeited reverts to the Crown); and what happens if:

a. an individual dies intestate and with no family to claim from the Estate; or

b. a company that owns land (or an interest in land) is dissolved.

 

This works well, so the supposed 'slur' of feudalism is in fact nothing of the kind!

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What a fantastic thread, Sheffield Forum at its very best. It seems that I've wasted a stamp, asking Coppen to give me a price to buy the freehold reversion on my newly purchased house. I guess I'd better wait a couple of years.

 

I do have a question though. I've got all of the lease documentation and it covers my house and next door. If I buy the freehold reversion, do both houses become freehold, or do I become the landlord for my next door neighbours?

 

They are lovely people, but I'd quite like to be able to prevent them from chandling tallow in the back garden:)

Edited by sibon

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I'm not sure you'd buy next door's at the same time as yours, that would be slightly odd.

 

but yes wait a couple of years, then contact Jeffrey and have him sort you out.

Don't mess around trying to negotiate with Coppen, they're only in it to try and rip you off.

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I'm not sure you'd buy next door's at the same time as yours, that would be slightly odd.

 

but yes wait a couple of years, then contact Jeffrey and have him sort you out.

Don't mess around trying to negotiate with Coppen, they're only in it to try and rip you off.

 

The lease covers both houses. The land was leased to build two houses, so I'm guessing that the freehold reversion will cover both houses. I've got all of the paperwork going back to the initial lease documents. Hence my question, will it split 50/50, or do I get to be my neighbour's evil landlord.

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That is abit odd?

 

I wonder if the pair of you could buy the lease and split the costs?

(Speak to Jeffrey obviously)

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I do have a question though. I've got all of the lease documentation and it covers my house and next door. If I buy the freehold reversion, do both houses become freehold, or do I become the landlord for my next door neighbours?

 

They are lovely people, but I'd quite like to be able to prevent them from chandling tallow in the back garden:)

 

I'm sure Jeffrey will give a proper legal response but my understanding (from some complications with our case) is that the lease is 'broken up' (again Jeffrey will give proper terminology) when you buy the freehold. Ground rent is apportioned, things like access via passages, shared gutters etc continue to be covered.

 

Our plot was originally for three houses but it seems over time the original lease has been split creating some confusion about who the freeholder actually was, who was entitled to collect the ground rent and so on. At the risk of advertising (we used Jeffrey, other solicitors are available...), it's worth getting a specialist in to untangle it all. In our case (ground rent £4 a year, lease worth c. £100), this was the main cost of buying. Yours might be more straightforward.

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