A well drafted lease should make it clear which elements of the building are the responsibilities of the freeholder to repair, and which fall to the individual leaseholders to maintain. As a general rule, areas owned by the freeholder (which may be communal areas such as hallways in a block of flats, lifts or stairs, and sometimes driveways and gardens) should be maintained and repaired by the freeholder, or the management company on the freeholder’s behalf. In some cases, it isn’t clear which party is responsible, and that can lead to a costly dispute.
If you own a leasehold property and are paying a monthly service charge to the freeholder, you should rightly expect all necessary repairs to be completed. A well run management company will keep a rolling schedule of fully-costed repairs, providing transparency to the leaseholders as to what repairs will be undertaken and when, and to show what their money is being spent on. If there is an emergency such as a water leak however, it can be extremely frustrating if the management company is not taking action. Sometimes the freeholder or management company might request additional contributions if it does not have the money to cover the cost of repairs.
If you own a leasehold property and the freeholder or the management company are not carrying out necessary repairs, or are asking for more money to help pay for repairs, we can help you understand your rights. In some cases the repairs might have been urgent and you might be out of pocket for emergency costs. Our expert lawyers will give you guidance and: