I am the owner of the flat which has a terrace at the back and on top of the basement flat, the basement flat complained about stains in their flat by leaks from the roof , I checked the lease and the roofs are clearly included as part of the building structure and covered by the service charge in the lease, however the basement flat did not agree and argued their roof is solely responsible by me who has the exclusive access to the terrace by ignoring the fact that the roof is part of the building structure and covered in the lease already. The building management does not have any legal knowledge at all and purely side with the basement flat and other flat owners who tried to push the roof repairs to me and did not want to share the responsibility of roof repair. Any advice anyone here could give as how this could be moved forward given the ignorance from the rest of the freeholders and the incompetent building management agent.
Are you sure that this is a proper terrace and not just a flat roof that you have been using as a terrace? If its clear in the lease that repairs are the freeholders responsibility then just tell the flat owner no. However, if you have been using it as a terrace when there is no planning consent and building regs approval for such use, then the freeholder/management company can recover their costs from you.
Thanks David122. Yes, it is a proper terrace which was an extension built for both my flat and the basement flat before being sold to me and the basement flat by the previous owners. The freeholders bought the freehold(999 years) from the landlord and this extension is included in the plan. The problem is the building management kept ignoring what I have been sending across which is the lease extract where it states roofs are part of the building structure and covered in lease. Not sure why he kept asking me to send across the full copy of my lease and ignoring this fact. And it is disappointing other flat owners would just quietly sided with the basement flat owner to keep pushing this sole repair responsibility to me in order to save themselves money. it is so wrong. I am being responsive and asked the building management to get lease copies from all flat owners and ask to agree to have this to be checked by legal professionals and share legal cost.
the other flat owner will not want to side with you as it means they have to share the cost !! The terrace is also the roof of another flat , hence all share. e g. If the damp course fails and its not in your flat , ALL have to share the cost … Roofs all share … I worked years ago on a similar problem and the repair came out of the general fund
Thanks Collin. Should I just ignore it now given I have already sent across the lease extract where it says roofs are part of building structure. And it is really the building management’s responsibility to easily get the same lease from other owners as well given they did not agree, we all have the same service charge section in the lease stating the parts covered by service charge. I am just so confused why some people would go this length to bully someone into paying for them by ignoring the legal fact. The building management is so incompetent it is beyond belief - he kept telling me the burden of proof is on me to prove my terrace is not a communal area , it has nothing to do with communal area , it is about building structure.
you could send a solicitors letter to make your point. Show them the contract?
I did not want to spend extra money on this on a solicitor given it is them ignoring their shared responsibility and the building management clearly fails to do their due part. I have already asked them to discuss if they should share the cost of getting all leases checked by legal professionals if they did not agree to share the responsibility. The rest of the freeholders all hide behind the scene and had separate discussion with the building management to act on their behalf against me.
Hi David, Collin, can you please kindly advise: what happens next when my lease is passed to the building management and they are not competent to have property law legal knowledge to conclude the matter or when they do and the rest of other freeholders still insist not share the repair? And why is the building management only insisting seeing my lease but not others especially the basement flat’s lease concerned ?
try the goverments Leasehold Advisory Service for advice The other parties have their own agenda
Thanks Collin. Surely the building management failed their legal responsibility in not managing this repair issue properly?
LAS advice is first go there
Thanks very much Collin. I will contact them now.
Have plans and pics .Keep a file of events
Once you send the lease copy and suggest they seek legal advice, you could just leave it at that until they respond to that point. However, I do agree with Colin3’s suggestion of the Leasehold Advisory Service.
Thanks very much @David122 and @Colin3 . Your kind and helpful advice has meant a lot.
Hi @David122 , @Colin3 , please could you be so kind to help advise , the situation is now getting very urgent: The building management has the lease copy of my flat and the basement flat’s, however he simply sided with the basement flat and other flat owners and insisted my flat has exclusive access to the terrace and so I am responsible for the roof of the basement flat, and now threatens to block my flat access to the terrace and dispose any items on the terrace. How could a building management who is not a law practitioner make a legal dispute behaved like this? and should I ask my tenants to call the police when the did so? He has ignored my suggestion to discuss with all flat owners on seeking legal advice on this and share legal cost. Please help .
Why should anyone else share the cost? It’s clear that the shared roof is the one that protects all the flats and the extension roof is not included as it does not benefit the other flats except the basement. Clearly if the extension roof / terrace floor is leaking then it needs remedial building work. How anyone could ever think that this was a workable arrangement defeats me, if it was a brick and stone mansion maybe but a modern extension? It won’t be pleasant for the basement flat, I wouldn’t like to hear footsteps above my head and then leaks? The big picture here is that you should stop using this terrace as it seems unfit for purpose, maybe that means losing current tenants as they expect to have its use, but move them on and stop new ones using it.
Hi @Graham , a lease is a lease, and as it rightly states so, it is part of the building structure and shared responsibility, any building structure should not be a single flat owner’s responsibility.
you need the weight of a solicitor experienced in this sort of property to give advice and deal with it
@Colin3 , thanks for your kind advice. Given how the rest of the flat owners and the building management have behaved, it is obvious none of them wants to deal with this in a professional way, and my worry is even if I passed them a letter of opinion from my solicitor, they would still ignore this and continue to harass me. They have ignored my request to collectively seek for legal advice on the leases.