There are many reasons why relationships between freeholders and leaseholders may turn sour, but it is important to know your rights when these disputes occur. When property disputes take shape, it is important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible from a qualified civil litigation solicitor.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in handling claims brought by leaseholders and freeholders alike. We have previous success in ensuring our clients achieve a win, building our cases and collecting all the information necessary to make a successful claim. If you find yourself involved in a freeholder and leaseholder disagreement, there are different avenues that you can venture down to settle your dispute…
What is the Difference Between Leasehold and Freehold?
If you own a property freehold, it means that you own both the building and the land outright in perpetuity. Your name will be on the land registry, and you will not have to pay annual ground rent. If you are the freeholder of a building, you have the responsibility to maintain the roof and outside walls and, essentially, its structure. Houses are normally sold freehold, so disputes between freeholders and leaseholders usually occur in commercial properties or flats owned by leasehold owners with a separate freeholder.
If you lease a property from a freeholder (also known as a landlord), you are known as the leaseholder. Leases can range from 40 years to 999 years. Leaseholders hold contracts with the freeholder which states the rights and responsibilities of both parties. When property disputes occur, you may have to refer to the lease agreement to check that you have grounds to make a claim. Freeholders usually hold the responsibility to maintain the property, but leaseholders may claim a ‘right to manage.’ Leaseholders usually pay ground rent, maintenance fees and service charges.
Common Freeholder and Leaseholder Property Disputes
Freeholder and leaseholder disputes frequently occur between landlords and tenants, both in domestic and commercial properties. One of the major sources of contention is fees. Leaseholders can often feel that the freeholder is overcharging them in service fees, and they may refuse to pay it. Both parties can apply for a First-Tier Property Tribunal to decipher what is reasonable. If the leaseholder is late in making payments, the freeholder can view the late payments as a breach of lease.
Freeholders may also refuse to extend leases or make amendments, such as allowing pets. Freeholders can refuse a lease extension if they have reasonable grounds to do so. If you have been refused a lease extension and wish to make a claim, get in touch with our civil litigation solicitors today to explore your options in a free consultation meeting.
Leaseholders and freeholders can also frequently argue on nuisance disputes, often involving neighbours. Excessive noise is one of the most common complaints regarding nuisances, and when complaints arise, it can be hard to tell whether the freeholder or the leaseholder is at fault. If the freeholder authorises the leaseholder to create a nuisance, then the former could be held accountable, but only if they actively participate in the nuisance. If you would like to find out more about the services our solicitors in Streatham can perform, and whether we can help you settle your leaseholder/freeholder dispute, please visit us here.
How to Settle Leaseholder/Freeholder Disagreements
If a disagreement arises between you and your leaseholder, or you believe that your freeholder is breaching his/her contract, we are here to help you settle your property dispute. Our qualified commercial property dispute solicitors can help you build an effective case, implementing effective dispute resolution wherever possible. We always aim to keep your case out of court wherever possible, but we will accompany you every step of the way.
To find out more about our property disputes service, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739 and we will provide expert advice and help in any way we can.