This comment submitted by a leasehold owner living on the Edgeware Road in north London deserves wider prominence
By Simin Eftekhari
The comment at the beginning refers to this article immediately below: “They are in a converted bakery in an area of the town with anti-social issues and most of the owners are investors … or the bank, as five have been re-possessed” From the article.
It looks like the London-based freeholder/management agency has bought this building freehold in an auction for making profit.
Freeholders in my experience do not want to make the life for leasehold owners easy and enjoyable, and make a reasonable profit. They do not want to make leaseholders feel “home”, in their leasehold properties. They ask for an unspeakable amount of money for refurbishment. They like leaseholders out of their scene. In our example, our management agency called us “Bunch of Animals”, who wanted to get rid of (apology to leasehold owners).
Yes, in our experience they kept forget to bring the itemised costs and itemised invoices to the meeting. They even forgot to bring them to the court, and blame the leaseholders for this.
Government has offered a lot of legal rights to leaseholders. Leasehold owners have lots of rights as long as they know how to exercise them for having full ownership and full control. But it takes a lot of encouragements and strength for one to deal with all legal terms and challenges the freeholders. Not everybody is ready to do this painful battle alone.
In my experience I did everything in my power. I had private meetings with the freeholder in their office. It turned out to be only to convince me that they are right and I am wrong. Blackmailing, threatening in polite way was part of our meeting. Things got even worse.
I even invited our freeholder to the building. When he came to the building, I found out it was his first view of the building. He told me: “what do you think this is, this is only a block of flat in Edgware Road, is not Buckingham Palace !.” Our freeholder surviving tactic is manipulation, frightening and insulting the leaseholders
Government is trying to support leaseholders, freeholders and the building through their Justice system. Unfortunately the complexity which freeholders create purposely, perhaps is not even understood by some judges. They try to put plaster on very deep wounds which needs the healing from the roots.
Going to solicitors in our case did not help. I found out that my solicitor knew the Management Agency! My solicitor was friend of them. They also worked for the client, if their property is with equity. My situation became more chaotic by my solicitor.
Leasehold property owners can never expect the freeholder treat their home like theirs. If you want to keep the wolves far from your door; as the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership wants, take the control of your property.
Do not work alone. Do the work with other leasehold owners. You need 50% of leaseholders for establishing your Right to manage. Remember your building needs money as well as hard work. An Accredited Management Agency can be found with good references to deliver an accountable, transparent and responsible job.
There are good people with good heart who can support you, find them and start now.