Can the Majority of the freeholders in a building force unfair action on another freeholder?

Can anyone here provide any thoughts on the below:
I am one of the 4 shared freeholders in the building, the flat owner below my flat has unreasonably asked the rest of other freeholders to compel me to move the pipe works under my floorboard and above their ceiling to my flat entirely given all flats have the same arrangements. They claim the pipework will make any future leaks from my flat inaccessible from my flat -which is not true as pipe works could be accessed by removing my floorboard when it needs to be,my question is- surely any building alteration is not a matter to be decided by some freeholders, it will not be lawful to force someone to move their pipe works just because you do not like it?

Also they are demanding themselves hire their own surveyor paid by me to investigate a leak which is being attended and investigated by contractors hired by my property management agent and they are being provided regular updates by my property management agent already, they asked their litigation solicitor to send a letter to me with such demand, should I ignore the letter given the flat below is fully aware prompt actions are being taken over the past few week as soon as it was reported to investigate the leak and due to the complexity of the nature, the repair done has not resolved the issue and further investigation is being carried out. Also, their flat has no one living in as they have applied for planning permission to redo their flat completely and everything was gutted in their flat to pave way for building works.


you have posted this before and received many answers

Thanks . My question now is - do I need to respond to this ridiculous litigation letter given repair work has been carried out and is still going on . Repair work could take time to find the real cause and fix it completely . There is no negligence from my side . Also my property is managed by the agent, what is that to do with me the owner when repair instruction has been given from me to the agent .

Book a free call with the Leasehold Advisory Service

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So unpicking this, there are 2 issues. First, there is a leak. And it seems not easy to resolve because of the difficulty accessing and inspecting all possible sources as the pipes are hidden. Second, this has drawn their attention to the problem of your pipes being inside their property (potentially). As they are on ground floor then they don’t do this to anyone below them, their pipes are inside their property, so it isn’t correct to say all freeholders are in the same position. Perhaps all freeholders on the first floor and above are in same position, but not ground floor. Normally the pipes should be notched into the joists , i.e. resting on top of the joists. Perhaps yours are somehow under the joists? In any case, it would appear you took my advice and got a temporary injunction to stop the works and are investigating the leak (which you didn’t mention in your original post, which I find rather suspicious). Eventually this will either go away as everyone is exhausted by it and the cost is smaller than the benefit, or they will have to sue you and make a claim you have breached the third party wall, against which your defence is that this is how all flats were designed. If you have the temporary injunction there is nothing much they can do, and you need to get your solicitor to make it a permanent injunction once the investigation is complete which demonstrates your goodwill. But don’t try to be clever and tricky by not telling people the full story.

well said Graham The leak was not in the initial post

The pipes are sitting in the joists ,not under the joists . This was confirmed in the letter and they acknowledge it’s the freeholder’s space, nothing is running into their flat below the joists. The pipes could certainly be accessed by lifting my floorboard instead of ripping off their ceiling as they claimed .

The freeholders cannot force you to alter your flat unless you have breached conditions of the lease (check the lease and seek advice if in doubt). Pipes under floors is standard construction in most cases and likely dates back to the construction or conversion of the flats.
If you choose to ignore their solicitors letter they would have to issue court proceedings. They may not be prepared to take that step.
If they have reported a leak you have a duty to investigate and rectify. It sounds like you have done that.

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Thanks @David89 , very helpful and meant a lot.

So there is nothing they can do. Just smile, cooperate, get the temporary injunction made permanent, and that’s that.

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