Our client purchased the freehold lease on a flat.
The Freeholder commenced major works on the block of flats before the completion of sale and purchase of our client’s property. Our client received an invoice for the major work after three years and eleven months. Our client argued that it was not his responsibility nor liability to make payments towards these major works or service charges from this period, or up until the time of purchase.
The Freeholder was relying on a section 20 notice which they served to the previous owner and not to our client. These major works were estimated to cost several thousands of pounds.
The major works cost almost double the initial quote which left our client feeling very uncertain. The Freeholder had also been adding interest on to the unpaid service charges and major works bill.
As stated above, a notice for payment was sent to our client, this being three years and eleven months after the initial notice for payment and therefore is an out of date claim.
The Freeholder with the assistance of a solicitors’ firm then issued a misconceived claim in County Court to recover the amount.
Upon judgement it was decided that this claim should never have been filed within a court as per the freehold agreement due to an arbitration clause that was set out in our skeleton argument stating that “any dispute between lessor and lessee concerning the amount of interim charge shall be referred to an arbitrator upon the application of either the lessor or lessee.” This clause was not followed by the Freeholder and has now been referred to the LVT for consideration.
Now that this claim has been referred to the LVT we are very optimistic that the Freeholder’s misconceived claim shall be dismissed with costs.