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Query re. freeholder breaching leasehold

(2 Posts)
Southernc0mfortmirror Sat 31-Dec-16 15:18:30

Hello. The query is a bit complicated but I'll try to keep things brief.

I own an ex-council flat in a tower block. The local council is the freeholder (I hope that's the right term). The block is one of five renovated in 2011. The council retained four and sold off ours to fund the redevelopment.

About a year after the flats were sold leaks to the communal heating and hot water pipes started to happen. Engineers have informed us and the council that this is due to plastic pipes being used. Due to the size of the building, 14 floors and 80 flats, plastic can't withstand the heat and pressure required and is cracking. The council know this and have taken no action, other than patching up leaks. As time goes on the leaks are getting more frequent.

There are other issues, such as the management company and council both passing the problem between each other and at times denying it's their responsibility as the block is privately owned.

There is a clause in the leasehold stating that the freeholder (the council) are responsible for keeping the system in good repair and condition, which it seems they're failing to do by not solving the main cause of the leaks.

Is it worth pursuing this legally to compel them to replace the pipes?

lalalonglegs Sat 31-Dec-16 16:11:24

If the council won't do the repairs voluntarily, you may have no choice but to compel them to. As I understand it from your OP, the block is entirely privately "owned" (yes, I know leaseholders don't own their flats). In that case, you and your neighbours should qualify for Right To Manage which means that you can take over the management from the freeholder (although the freeholder still has the right to a seat on the newly-formed management company but doesn't get any say above that) and can appoint your own maintenance company to look after the block.

There is a pamphlet from Lease Advice available here telling you how to go about it - I did it with a flat I own, it was very straightforward to set up albeit there were only four flats in the building so much easier to get the requisite signatories. Good luck.

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