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Sudden increase in ground rent and maintenance charges - from £33 a month to £800 a month

(50 Posts)
Jenasaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 12:32:53

I own a maisonette which is mixed in with privately owned and council owned properties. 18 in total, I purchased the property in 2016 and haven been paying £33 a month for 10 months of the year (split into two periods of 5 months with a month in between). This is to cover the ground rent and maintenance costs to the council.

I have just been advised that they are resurfacing the car park at a cost of £40k and carrying out other repairs making a total of £71,000 and will be splitting this between the 18 flats. Making my £33 a month rise to £800 a month.

To be honest I am in shock and trying to work out where I can find an extra £770 a month from to cover this. I would welcome any advice on this please.

Crunchymum Wed 13-Jun-18 12:40:55

There must be some mistake? Where is anyone going to find an extra £770 a month from? shock

Strawberrybelly Wed 13-Jun-18 12:42:17

That's outrageous. Can they even do that?

SleepingInYourFlowerbed Wed 13-Jun-18 12:43:38

Surely they can't do that? There must be a contract or something - what does that say?

Jenasaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 12:46:55

I am glad you have said that, so will send them a letter to that effect.

Basically it states that we have to pay for the repairs (a shared proportion of the costs) ironically I dont use the car park as I dont drive and all the property that is being maintained belongs to other owners so I am paying for no benefit although I do understand thats the way it works and it could work the other way another time. My colleague was so outraged on my behalf she told me to post on mumsnet and now with your comments I think I need to contact them further.

Igneococcus Wed 13-Jun-18 12:49:13

For how many month would you have to pay that much more?
It would take 5 month of £800 to raise the money between 18 properties. It still sucks and I'd panic too.

ShotsFired Wed 13-Jun-18 12:49:20

They are supposed to consult on major works like this I think Section 21 notices - something like that? (its been a few years now)

Basically they can't just go and do it when there are paying leaseholders involved.

ShotsFired Wed 13-Jun-18 12:50:17

yes - look: www.lease-advice.org/article/major-works-and-consultation-under-section-20-of-the-landlord-tenant-act-1985-a-brief-guide-to-your-rights/

Ginorchoc Wed 13-Jun-18 12:50:40

£800 x 10 = £8000 x 18 = £144,000 or have I read it wrong (which is a high possibility today)

NoSquirrels Wed 13-Jun-18 12:50:44

I’m afraid this is a known problem with buying in a council-owned block sad

Panga63 Wed 13-Jun-18 12:52:19

Do you have a copy of your leasehold agreement? What does it say in regard to responsibility of costs for upkeep of property?
My retired DF had to pay out for his share of costs for roof insulation and new front door in his flat in a block which was mixed ownership.

DownUdderer Wed 13-Jun-18 12:53:43

Don’t they have a sinking fund to pay for big costs?

NoSquirrels Wed 13-Jun-18 12:55:14

www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/31/owners-ex-local-authority-homes-bills-thousands

When the leaseholder is the council the rules about consultation are different.

SweetMisery Wed 13-Jun-18 12:56:52

What downunder said, if there’s no sink find this is what can happen unfortunately

GahWhatever Wed 13-Jun-18 12:58:26

If the repairs cost 71K, then each property need to pay just under 4K.
Presuming that your maintenance charges stay the same, the cost of these additional works at 770pcm will be paid off in 5 months. Is that why it is so much? They want full payment within your next 5 month payment window?
It does seem harsh but if it is only for 5 months is there any way you can borrow the 4K and stretch out the payment a bit?

Jenasaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 12:59:39

It is only £4000 each, but they are saying this is to be paid off monthly over 5 months (£800 a month) On top of this I have my council tax and other bills, I am only a band 4 in the NHS so basically I will need a loan to pay for this additional amount as I only manage to save £150 a month as it is on a good month (for christmas etc)

SleepingInYourFlowerbed Wed 13-Jun-18 13:01:03

Were you given any notice?

Jenasaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 13:03:54

This is the notice I am being given now, - it is for Jan 2019, I was trying to work out if I could save enough between now and then to pay it, but I would need to save at least 400 a month and thats not possible on my income.

FuckPants Wed 13-Jun-18 13:04:07

I think most ordinary people would struggle to find an extra £800 a month for five months, have you spoken to your neighbours? I'd be saying to the council that I couldn't afford it and seeing if they have a repayment plan.

That is outrageous.

GoldenMalicious Wed 13-Jun-18 13:07:12

We had a similarly shocking bill for a council owned property - they wanted £13k from each flat to pay for a complete overhaul of the heating system. (I'm hoping for a diamond plated boiler for the price...). We contacted the council to say that there was no way we could pay that in one lump sum, and they've agreed for us to spread the payments over 2 years. It's still a huge sum each month, but at least it's more manageable. While you've been offered a 5 month payment schedule, I wonder if you might be able to negotiate a longer payment plan? The fee won't go away, but might become affordable.

TheKitchenWitch Wed 13-Jun-18 13:08:19

I think the per month cost is a red herring tbh. It’s 4000 pounds which each property needs to pay. How you come up with it is your problem, but they are within their rights to ask for it within a certain timeframe.
How have other major repairs etc been paid for in the past?

Juells Wed 13-Jun-18 13:08:46

Borrow the money to clear the ground rent then sell and move. I know that sounds like I'm being snippy and facetious, but that's a monstrous thing to do to people. What next, the roof needs doing?

fruitbrewhaha Wed 13-Jun-18 13:09:07

Yes they can do this and this is the risk of buying ex council. At least with private flats there is consultation and a feeling that there is a push for value for money. You could speak to the council and ask for a breakdown of cost and what were the other quotes.

Speak to your mortgage provider, you should be able to add to your mortgage and it won't raise your monthly payment be very much.

TheWizardofWas Wed 13-Jun-18 13:09:42

we usually have 2 years to pay our service charges off.

GahWhatever Wed 13-Jun-18 13:12:27

You have 6 months to save as much as you can.
Are you likely to be eligible for credit?
Is there anything you could do to increase your income in the short/medium term? overtime, babysitting, ironing, food delivery etc?
If you can save 100 per month by being really careful and another 300 from additional income for the next year (I know it's a lot and it will be so hard) then you won't even need a loan. They are giving you 6 months notice and it will last for 6 months or so. A real challenge.
Basically: what can you do to earn £15 more every day for the next year?

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