The freeholder never sent his ground rent demand for £250 to our address and I am angry about a water leak coming into my flat. Debt collecting solicitors, with appalling reputations on the internet, are now demanding £1,000 in settlement. I have tried to pay the £250 but it is refused.
Alway pay the ground rent. You undertook to pay it when you bought the property with legal advice. Courts will not be sympathetic to it not being paid. They will, and have, accepted vague assurances from freeholders that the demand was sent out correctly. You are now in breach of lease, and legal fees are being loaded on to the bill.
The debt collecting solicitors have no interest in this being resolved: they will get more the longer you are in breach of lease.
Our advice is to make clear that you will pay the ground rent and debt collector’s bill in full, and then seek a tribunal ruling on the reasonableness of the debt collector’s costs. These have been routinely knocked down in tribunal, and have equally routinely been reduced when leaseholders make clear that they will go to court.
The debt collectors are only paid on whatever they can extract – there is no fee from the landlord – and their reputation is appalling. So they do not like going to court about them, or having disobliging inquiries made by MPs … or LKP.