Property Q & A

Brought to you by Graham Ireland, Partner and Head of Conveyancing, Woodocks Haworth and Nuttall

I bought my property six months ago and have now had a demand for ground rent too.   Administration charges of £175.00 have also been added.  What should I do?

Approximately half of the properties in the area are leasehold and subject to a ground rent. Of the ones that are freehold, many of those are subject to a yearly rent charge. Most of these payments were created in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and in many cases are less than £2 per year.

Over the last 20 years or so, some fairly aggressive companies have been acquiring freeholds and interests in freehold rents.

These companies have fast developed a reputation for charging large amounts in administration fees for something as simple as issuing a receipt for payment of the rent and in extreme cases charge thousands of pounds where there has been a breach of covenant.

One of their typical tactics is to charge administration fees if they pursue payment of rent that has not been paid and it may be that is to what the administration charges relate.

So far as the rent itself is concerned, it is likely that whoever is making the demand is only entitled to the equivalent of six years of actual rent (£21) and it is likely that the remainder of it is statute barred and not recoverable.

This is an issue which should have been checked by whoever acted for you in connection with your purchase. You should therefore refer this back to them to see how the pre-contract enquiries relating to it were answered.