Make an enquiry Make an enquiry
Home Who we are Our Properties Landlords Blog Get in touch Facebook Twitter

Blog

A Crab For Your Flat

Saturday May 7, 2022

Tyneside Flat Lease
Tyneside Flat Lease

There is good news in the post for leaseholders as legislation comes into force to remove some of the most outrageous abuses of this legacy arrangement. ‘The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill’ has received Royal Assent. So from June, new leases will no longer be allowed to charge Ground Rent. The old ‘peppercorn rent’ has made a permanent comeback. Why peppercorn rent? Why not just allow the leaseholder to pay nothing?

This is because a leasehold agreement is a contract and in order to be binding, must include a consideration for the freeholder. Back in the mists of time, peppercorns were a valuable imported spice so a peppercorn had value. Over the years, solicitors got whimsical with this caveat and there are examples of one crab, a single red rose, one apple and a posy of flowers being written into leasehold agreements.

Respected leasehold expert Shula Rich, who has trained members of the Heaton Property team, first became involved in leasehold legislation when the leaseholders in her block were presented with a £2,000,000 bill by the freeholders, Mars Securities of chocolate bar fame. A friend living in an eight flat block in Newcastle received a bill for her share of £40,000 for a new roof. She commissioned an independent surveyor who ruled the roof was fine.

We are increasingly taking instructions under the ‘Right to Manage’ legislation.  This is the mechanism by which owners can take control of their block. Prior to this useful bit of legislation, the Leaseholders had to prove mismanagement and were often subject to very high legal costs or had to purchase their freehold.

Every time we take over the management of a block, we find ways to significantly reduce the service charge demands. The main issue is often excessive insurance premium costs. The key here is to be absolutely thorough and examine every aspect of every contract from lift and garden maintenance to decoration of communal areas.

Until recently block management has largely been the preserve of big outfits based in the south east who may have hundreds of properties under management. Often contracts have simply rolled over for years and nobody has questioned value for money. We have the advantage of local knowledge and a local skills base. Our trades people are experts in their field and while they may gaze wistfully at fees charged by their counterparts in the south east, they have their feet firmly on the ground here in civilisation.

These new working methods represent wins all round. We get additional instructions, our contractors get a steady stream of local work and leaseholders, at long last, get a fair deal. This has all been a long time coming and as it is simple common sense, one may wonder why it has taken so long? The cynics among us suggest that legislation must be approved by the House of Lords where, by a spooky coincidence probably the biggest collection of freeholders in the UK sit in judgement. It’s a thought, but my sunny Italian disposition does not allow me to comment. Instead, I simply welcome the changes with open arms.

Back to blog
Latest from the blog...
Tyneside Flat Lease

A Crab For Your Flat

Saturday May 7, 2022

Read more
Lindsey - Property Manager

Rich In Italian Flair

Wednesday April 6, 2022

Read more
Introducing our landlords...

One of the many ways we reassure new landlords about our service is by introducing them to existing ones...

In the 3 years we’ve used Heaton Property, we’ve discovered that not only do they take the time to understand what it is I need from them, but they then do that very rare thing – they deliver!

Austen Hempstead

You continue to be the best agent I have ever worked with by a very long way, your willingness to go the extra mile  in providing practical help over and above our contract has been appreciated.

Richard Ford

I knew you would be thorough and successful from both your tone and your sensible reaction to our first enquiry.

Stella Young

© 2022 Heaton Property

Site by Union Room | Terms & Conditions | Sitemap