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Problems facing freeholders on new developments

There are new problems facing freeholders. We take a closer look at the issue commonly called #fleecehold and our campaign for change.

Post updated: May 19th, 2020

problems facing freeholders

There is a silent revolution going on in the new build market, which no one seems to know about, least of all the actual homeowners and their conveyancers. The legal term is “freeholders on private estates”. Most people know about freehold and leasehold, but this new model has crept in without democratic scrutiny or discussion and over the past 10 years or so has become the industry standard. These  problems facing freeholders are estimated to affect at least half a million homes in the UK and is growing.

What is it?

You buy a freehold house on a new build estate and are told there is a small service charge to look after the lovely green open spaces. Sounds reasonable? Yes, until the problems start – like being charged high management bills for poor service or being charged before the estate is completed. Then, you begin digging and find the devil is in the detail. The charge is bound to your property through your title deeds, so your only way out is to move and pay off the fees. If you do move, the management company is involved with the property transfer, with fees to pay and possible delays (as often happens with leasehold transactions).

If you want to dispute the fees or ask for justification for spending so much you find that, unlike leaseholders who have a tribunal, there is no alternative dispute resolution available to freeholders. Your only alternative is to fight it in court. Not many people have the resources and motivation to take this on. You have no consumer rights as the management companies are accountable to the landowner (themselves) and not you. There is no way to change the service provider and no right to manage.

So the freeholders on a private estate find they have to pay whatever charge the company decides for whatever level of service it chooses. The open space you pay for can be used and abused by the general public and yet you are still expected to pay full council tax.

Leaseholders on private new build estates sometimes suffer from the same problem. In addition, they may end up paying inflated ground rents and may find the cost of buying their freehold is unaffordable. Although they may have a right to manage their own building and internal common parts, they have no such right with regard to the management of landscape and external amenities such as play areas. They are effectively paying two different types of charge with entirely different rules.

How has this happened?

This has all come about due to negotiations between developers and planning authorities under what is known as “Section 106 agreements”. The original intention of these was to mitigate the impact of new developments on their surrounding infrastructure (roads, schools etc.) where they would otherwise not obtain planning permission. Over the years it has turned into a mechanism for councils to squeeze funding from developers and use the much needed funds elsewhere. Councils may think they are doing the best for their ratepayers, but in the process are selling out on the new homeowners. So much is clawed back under 106 agreements that standards of build quality are reduced to maintain profit margins and the homeowners are forced to pay for open space which is not theirs and over which they have no influence.

If you refuse to pay because you are dissatisfied, your concerns and queries will be ignored, and you may be bullied in to paying up under threat of court action.

Homeowners feel duped, ripped off and very angry at the unfair and cynical way they are being treated. HorNet is a UK wide network to campaign for change and regulation. The group agrees that the whole system is unfair and unjust to the homeowner. The bigger picture involves retention of land by investors and the back door privatisation of green open space.

We are campaigning government to step in and at least put in some form of regulation and alternative dispute resolution and to give freeholders the same rights as leaseholders.

If you are in a similar situation, learn more about service charges in our guide

With thanks to HorNet for contributing to this article.


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  1. Matty PMatty P

    We have a freehold property on a Bovis homes site. We signed a TP1 agreement in 2017 which at the time indicated the common green areas would be handed over and maintained by the estate company, this has since changed, we have received notification of the service charge and are being told that actually they are not maintaing the green common areas as the sewage/drainage system runs underneath those areas in question ( we have an email from the estate company saying that originally they were due to be taking over the green common areas but are no longer because of the reasons indicated above )
    Because our TP1 agreement has now changed does this mean our contract is now void?

  2. SkipSkip

    Watch out for clause which gives management company the right to reprocess or take a charge on a freehold property . Mortgage companies hate this and most wont lend . The management won’t issue a deed of variation .

    They won’t get involved in covenants being broken such as rubbish bins still on show after collection all the time , commercial vehicles parked , parking on
    Pavements , horse boxes and motor caravans , large garden buildings etc all stated on deeds as not allowed . But they will take you for every pound

  3. SimonSimon

    Susan – Very smart indeed, being as suspicious as you clearly are, was your solicitor recommended by the agents or did you pick them yourself ? Once an estate is set up as not being adopted by the local authority, there is zero guarantee it will be in the future. The simple facts are – For an estate to be adopted by the local authority the roads/pavements/play areas etc have to be built to a certain standard, this standard is high and as such few developers meet the criteria, there are good economic reasons for this (smaller pavements etc…. equal more houses). The developer also makes a ” contribution ” to the council for the future work/maintenance which will be needed to be done….. well if this cash lump sum has not been paid already then there is very little chance it will be adopted. How old is the estate ? If say it is 5/10 years old then if the council were going to adopt it, it would have already taken place ! I would only go into this purchase if you are ok with paying estate rent, if not…. walk away. As an aside, why do you think it was never mentioned ???? I think we all know the answer to that.

  4. Susan BlandSusan Bland

    I am in the process of buying
    a property on such an estate
    I wasn’t told at either viewing nor when I put in my offer about a maintenance charge. This wasn’t mentioned either in the agents listing
    My solicitor has said this will not be forever because the council will eventually adopt the estate but I am not convinced

  5. SimonSimon

    Patrick – If your house is freehold, then i am sorry to say that there is little you can do, the work not being done cannot be challenged in the same way Leasehold can be. I assume you have contacted the management company and told them this ? Other than this action, there is little you, or the others on the estate, can do. The problems you have experienced are a snapshot of what the future holds if the expansion of the private estate model is continued. Sorry i have no solution at this time, the govt are meant to be looking to bring in the same redress system that Leasehold has, but it will take some time given how slow they move.

  6. Patrick BishopPatrick Bishop

    We are having to pay management charges for maintenance of a Redrow estate ,the charges include tree maintenance , litter picking and grass cutting which is not being done.

  7. SimonSimon

    Sarah – I assume you have called the company who has issued the fine and asked them for the date/time of the incident, and the VRM of the vehicle involved ? A lot of them also take a picture of the ” offending ” car. It could also be a scam …… not saying it is, but speak with the management company and check out the details you have been given (ie the debt collectors details), this maybe the firm the managing agents employ but it may not be, there are cases of scam companies being set up in a similar name to do this exact thing. The management company is your first port of call (after calling the debt agents) . All the best.

  8. HornetHornet

    Basically, you are entering into a leasehold agreement via a contract. The freehold name is effectively useless in most cases… the freehold just basically allows you some mineral rights probably. Nothing applicable to 99.9999999% of people.
    If anyone has ever owned a flat, this is the same… you pay service fee, you pay into a reserve fund, you pay for information packs, you have to be a director (or agree to become one at any time), you have to notify a 3rd party and gain/pay consent if you want to change anything to the property… its the same.
    If you ever thought owning a flat was naff due to those reasons, then buying such a house in a managed estate is pretty much the same… so think twice.

  9. Sarah BuckinghamSarah Buckingham

    I am being threatened by a Debt Collector for a parking ticket I have never seen for parking on my own freehold space at the back of my house. Please can you give me guidance. I had Covid at the time but my 85 year old husband did not receive any ticket or letter.

  10. SimonSimon

    Trish – I totally agree, but the ‘ hold ‘ they legally have over you is something you agreed too when you signed the TP1 at your solicitors. I really do not wish to sound harsh but it is down to the solicitors you picked to explain in full what you are liable for, they often do not go into sufficient detail and simply brush over the rent charge as ” grass cutting ” or something similar. As an aside, and worth mentioning, never….. ever use the solicitors recommended by the developer, there is a clear conflict in whom they are working for !!!

  11. SimonSimon

    Oliver Bowers- That is nice and simple….. yes. The ongoing cost of cutting grass, fixing pot holes, street lights ….. or what other items are on your particular estate need to be paid for by someone, the council have not adopted it so i am afraid you, and the neighbours are on the hook.

  12. TrishTrish

    We need to fight this ability to charge when selling your freehold property. It is disgraceful that a company legally has this hold over you. It is not made clear when purchasing that there will be problems & extra charges when selling.

  13. Oliver BowersOliver Bowers

    Hi just a quick one I have bought a house that has this maintenance charge attached. I have bought this house outright and own the title deeds do I still need to pay the maintenance costs?

  14. SimonSimon

    Deborah – Just to add to my last post, i have been looking at Septic tanks and their regulation online as i did not know a great deal about them. Interesting reading on a few of the more professional sites. The tanks need regular inspections, have you been told when that was last done ? Also since Jan 2020 there are some far more stringent regulations in place on how a tank discharges, do you understand how the tank on your estate works ? I would Google this as a matter of urgency, a house cannot be sold unless its tank adheres to these new regulations, this is when a good management company does come into its own …… but it appears you have a not so good one. I really would look into this sooner rather than later.

  15. SimonSimon

    Deborah – At least there are only 9 of you ! On this basis the running of the estate is very easy to achieve with minimal hassle and effort. The taking over of the estate is all dependent upon what your TP1 says, have you got a copy ? Or can you get one ? Once you have it, i personally would take it to a solicitor and get them to act on all your behalf. A letter from a solicitor quoting the relevant passages from the TP1 stating you are taking over the management of the estate can cause the current crop of chancers to take note. I would caution though, some TP1’s do not allow for the estate to be taken over……. see what you one says. I cannot understand why some of you pay and others do not, from the management company point of view they are dropping valuable income !! So you are all liable to pay a grand total of £3240 per year…… for what exactly ? You mention a septic tank, what work has been carried on that piece of the estate…. given it is a new estate, what could be wrong with it !!! I cannot say how often it would need to be emptied as it depends on how big the tank is in the first place, but up to now they can claim just under £10,000 from you all. They are certainly on a good earner. The figures above are what you are all ” obliged” to pay, so even though some have not been paying…. they can come after those people in the future and demand the monies. The example you give is exactly why estate rent should be banned, and all new estates need to be adopted by the local council from the get go, it is a total scam. All the best.

  16. Deborah WainwrightDeborah Wainwright

    Hi I would like some advise please. I live on a small estate of 9 freehold houses. Upon moving in we were informed that we had a management company and had to pay £30 per month. This was to cover our shared septic tank and sink fund. In addition, as it was the first year the budget was set as such and at the end of the year it would be assessed and changed accordingly. This was 3 years ago. We have since learned that only 5 of us have been paying, the other 4 have never been approached for payment. We have never seen a set of accounts, had the opportunity to elect owners as directors as with leasehold management companies. We are constantly ignored by the management company who were employed by the developers/builders (a small local builders). When they do answer us, they tell us the problems lie with the developers, when we contact them they say it’s the management company. Both sides refuse to set up meetings with us to discuss the problems. So the remainder of us paying owners stopped paying at Christmas which we have been told had not been noticed. We are at a loss of what we can do, as there seems little redress for homeowners in our position. There are no leaseholders on our development.

    We would like to know whether we can take over the management ourselves, ie, form our own company and run it ourselves. If so how? Or if there is a particular service we can contact to force the management company/developers to provide us with annual accounts, address the non payment, appoint directors etc.
    Many thanks for any help
    Deborah

  17. SimonSimon

    dcandersson – Some good points made well, i cannot say for certain how complicit the local councils are in all this, but it does serve both the developer and the council for private estates to not only exist, but to flourish. If the roads and other infrastructure are made to a lower standard than the council would require to adopt, then that saves the developer money in the initial build, if then, they do not have to pay the normal lump sum payment under the S106 agreements for the council to take over the estates….. then all good again. The flip side to all this – The developer then has a guaranteed income stream for ever, with a lower build cost due to the less well built roads, pavements, fencing etc etc. The private estate model is a mill stone around the necks of all who sign up, but it is only years later they understand this….. too late for most. I agree totally that the size and quality of new homes have been on a downward spiral for years, this (and previous) governments have given no care whatsoever to all this, the quality of life side of our homes has been totally ignored, it should not. The developers have had a free rein and are making hay while the sun still shines. The govt has tugged their forelocks for years in the direction of the developers, i cannot see it changing anytime soon with the housing debacle we currently have. I steer all my friends and family firmly away from new builds with estate rent….. if i could find one without estate rent, then it could be looked at, but they tend to be the smaller developers which are specialist, they tend to provide these non estate rent new homes.

  18. dcanderssondcandersson

    The evidence does not bear out the blame being laid at the feet of s 106 agreements.
    Developers need only pursue a s. 106 that is otherwise unacceptable in planning terms
    Also, British homes have been getting smaller and thinner-walled and with less glass than the majority of their eurpean counterparts for years. But the combination of a designated element of welfare for rental costs and the general upward trend of residential prices means that there has been precious little incentive to spend on quality when even a fly-blown corrugate flop-house will flog on at a profit. At least when the asset class starts to crash we will finally know who the smart property developers are…..

    To recap: S. 106 in fact affects a minority of developments. The larger developments typically water down these agreements anyway in favour of the developer. A succession of governments have gone our of their way to keep costs on developers low (e.g. Breem This and not the poor old Council;s 106s have provided the context within which the regrettable state of affairs to which the article draws our attention

  19. SimonSimon

    Janine – Ok, the best solution with this is to ask a few of the neighbours who have lived there a while when was the last time they had an invoice ? If they have a confused look on their faces then you have your answer…… it is so long ago they have forgotten they are liable. I have heard of these quaint local covenants and i concur with your solicitor that they are rarely enforced. There should be more detail though on exactly what bits of the ” local area ” you (and the neighbours) are liable for, this may give you comfort if it’s simply a patch of shrubs etc. Find that out, then you will know what it could be in the future.

    Joan Wedge – I fully understand why you think this, and given the pumping station is only 5 years old it is very worrying that it’s failing already, it does not bode well for the future in terms of it possibly totally stopping. The number of houses (61) is not that great, i am aware of estates with far more than that and they have a pumping station (not aware of any issues though). This is one of the problems i wrote about a while ago on this forum, it’s the large pieces of infrastructure that would really worry me when signing up to estates with service charges. The possible future costs could be astronomic. I doubt you could prove that the developer fitted an inadequate pumping station, and to do so would mean you (the residents) take them to court……. do you really want all that hassle ? The road is a common complaint on private estates, when you say you purchased the house with ” the understanding ”, is that backed up by any paperwork, or was it simply one of the sale bod’s saying that it will be ? This is an issue with estates all over the country and it can be very difficult to enforce after the purchase of the house. I would be inclined to call the local council highways dept and speak directly with them, ask them straight if they are going to adopt the road. Who exactly has told you the road needs ‘ remedial work ‘ ? Is it the council themselves or the developer ………… i would be skeptical if it were the latter. All the best.

  20. Joan wedgeJoan wedge

    We are freehold owners of a house on a new development which was completed in 2016 . There are 61 properties on the development all of which are now occupied. The problem is the developer installed a pumping station to deal with waste water – the pump keeps failing and according to the Director of the OMC it is costing the residents a large amount of money to repair each time. My issue is – if the pump was never fit for purpose to cope with the number of households shouldn’t the developer be held responsible? We bought our property with the understanding that the road outside was adopted however the local council have yet to do so as they require remedial work to be completed, I mention this as the developer are still involved in contributing to the costs of the upkeep of these roads until the call until adopt the road.

  21. JanineJanine

    Hi, I have been sent forms from my solicitor to sign to get myself registered on the land registry with my property. It is a freehold but an ex council house. I have to sign that I will pay money to the council if they ask for it for upkeep of the local area. I spoke to my solicitor who said that they used to charge £25/year for this but they haven’t charged it for a long time now. However, I can’t get the property registered unless I sign the form stating I will pay the council money of requested. So, what happens if the council suddenly start wanting to take money again and what if it’s a lot more? Is there really nothing I can do about this?

  22. SimonSimon

    Tony – A common problem i am afraid, the retirement side of things is something i am not as familiar with, but i suspect it is very lucrative for the management companies, as you will no doubt know the monthly fees can be high depending on what is provided on the estate and the blocks themselves, the companies do not want to let them go !!! It really is all down to what is written into the TP1, I would be heading for the nearest solicitor to get professional assistance on this, it can be done, but it is often not an easy path. Sorry i could not be of more help but that side of things is something i have had little to do with. There may be others who can direct you better. Best of luck.

  23. JamesJames

    We’re just in the process of buying a house that’s 3 years old on a Bellway estate.
    The estate probably has 200+ houses.
    We viewed a particular house on this estate and we’re told buy the current owners that they pay a management fee for the grounds.
    However, we’ve now gone to see another house on the same estate (but this one is at the front on the original public main road…so at the front of the development) and the owner of this plot has said they don’t pay any management fees nor heard of anything.
    Is this normal? I would assume all houses would pay the fee? Or would it only apply to houses that are tucked away in the development with grassed verges etc?

  24. SimonSimon

    Pamela Dutton – The govt will not make private estates ” illegal ”, but they are looking at bringing in more accountability to the charging structure, so that the work they do is documented and fair…… let us see what happens. The council tax link is a red herring, you decided to live on a private estate and pay fees for the pleasure, just because i don’t need to visit the GP or the hospital does not mean i pay less NI or tax, the ‘estate rent ‘ model is spreading like a virus, see it for what it is….. a continuing income stream for the land owner, and avoid it.

    H. Scott – Probably….. but you need to really look at the TP1 you signed, they are all different and some make it easier than others to take over the running of the estate.

    Marion Didon – That does sound odd, normally they charge everyone or nobody……. just call the management company and ask them why you appear to be the only property paying, it may be an error on their side and the neighbors will be getting an invoice very soon 🙂 I am sure they will thank you. The lack of maintenance on the estate is a common gripe, there is very little you can do i am afraid, the TP1 is hedged towards the land owner.

  25. Tony_39Tony_39

    I wonder if anyone can help?

    I am an old person who lives in a geriatric ghetto. Our 14 houses are very comfortable and very suitable. All are freehold. We are one of a number of estates built by the same developer.

    As part of the purchase we were ‘given’ a property management company. They have been bought out by a second company. The performance of the new company is not to our liking, not to our standard.

    A group of estates all by the original developer would like to change to a different management company. The current company tells us we cannot leave the contract.

    Arguably that is contrary to CMA guidelines.

    Does anyone have experience of terminating an agreement established by the TP1? What is the distinction between a deed and a contract?

    Thank you in anticipation

    Keep well

    Tony

  26. Marlon DIDONMarlon DIDON

    I bought my property two years ago and we had a “Property Maintenance fee with it. Despite we have seen no maintenance at all being done around our property, we’ve always paid our dues. However after receiving fly chatting to our neighbours we’ve found out that we the only house that have been made to pay such fee. Is this normal/legal.
    Please advise

  27. H. ScottH. Scott

    My wife and I bought a freehold new build on an estate with a management company,. We were told prior to purchase that if the residents were dissatisfied, as a group they could remove the management company and employ their own.
    Is this true or false?

  28. Pamela DuttonPamela Dutton

    I currently live in a freehold property on a managed site. They charge ridiculous fees for little work and refuse to provide evidence of the work completed. It’s a disgrace with home owners paying council tax and fees with no control over the amenities. The government need to intervene and make this practise illegal

  29. SimonSimon

    Jean – I assume you were not aware that such an amount was due ? Normally you get a letter forewarning you of impending work, especially for that amount of money….. did this not happen ? I would contact the company and ask for a breakdown, i understand they do not legally need to give it to you, but they often do give a brief list of work completed.

    Thomas – The link between Council Tax and Estate Rent is simply not there, you have agreed to pay the service charge when you purchased the house/flat on private land, sorry to be so blunt but many thousands have done this already, and will continue to do it in the future, the amount of Council Tax paid is not linked to the land around your property, it pays for the Police/Fire/Social Services etc and many other local functions. The choice you made to live on a private estate comes at a cost. Sorry.

    Dawn Moodley – 🙂 Comedy Gold 🙂

    Hornet – The troll is putting a smile on all our faces in difficult times :), although to be fair to said troll, he/she does have a point….. we do have an interest in guiding all who find this forum……….. from making one of the biggest financial mistakes of their lives when signing up to ‘ fleecehold ‘.

  30. dawn moodleydawn moodley

    remember all those who are reading this forum. people like simon/hornet have a vested interest in misguiding you. Their old outdated houses are just not selling. why would anyone spend on 100s of 1000 £ on a smelly dilapidated house needing thoudands of pounds in repairs when you can buy a nice looking house in a modern estate for the same price. who has the time to sort out problems of mould etc that have been patched up by previous owners for decades?

  31. ThomasThomas

    Thanks for your effort.
    Work for the common people.
    Curb the looting of people’s money as service charge by the builders even for freehold houses.
    Then why should we pay council tax?

    This is complete looting money by the house building companies.

  32. JeanJean

    Just got hit with a £3048 bill from one of these management companies. Unprofessional looking bill no clear evidence of what is going on

  33. JillJill

    I’m possibly going to be experiencing a service charge following the purchase of a new build. EWS are the company and it’s around £250 per annum – has anyone any experience of this company? I’m concerned about demands and high price increases

  34. HornetHornet

    Heeey, its the troll again !!!

    I was afraid he was scared off with my difficult questions and comments…. which still aren’t answered by the way LOL…. clearly his 2-day sales training course didn’t cover those tough questions…only taught how to convince people how its ok to just pay more money….

    “Its ok, you’re only being taken advantage of a bit…you’re not bothered by that are you?….unless you’re a disgusting poor person?!…. you’re not a poor miscreant are you?… oh good, please sign here.”

    If it wasn’t such a problem, why isn’t it fully advertised hmm?… why isn’t the full contract spelled out during any sales pitch?

    Anyway, @ Anna G, its a tough one for sure, hopefully your friend can pay it and move on, because there’s no other choice. What “Dawn/Dave the troll” has said is of course nonsense…making it sound as easy as trolling… oh yeh, just start a company and get 100 strangers to sign up as directors on it, piece of cake…LOL… what an utter doylem !!!

    You wont get a proper answer from him, because he doesn’t know. He’s only concerned with making his commission and probably angry he lost a few sales due to his inability to actually answer the question.

    My advice?…. Just keep taking it and bending over, because there’s no other solution that I can see… getting 100x signatures, knocking on doors and sorting all that crud it is total nonsense for me so I wouldn’t even know where to start.

    Would your existing management company tell you how to do it?… a bit like how energy companies have to tell you?… like u-switch… but i suspect you cant actually do it as easily as that.

    Come back trolleee…. you got a real chance to help someone here, show us how good and caring you are, and not just some incompetent kid.

    Tell this lady how to do everything step by step because someone is asking for your help here…. and you can prove us nay sayers all wrong too, c’mon kid…. you can do it.

    Unless you can’t of course LOL.

  35. SimonSimon

    Dawn Moodley – 🙂 🙂 You’re on a roll today 🙂

    In these Pandemic times it’s good to know that humor is only a few key strokes away.

    Remember all who are reading this forum, its purpose is to highlight the pitfalls of buying a new build with estate rent attached, the advice of Dawn Moodley, and his/her pseudonyms is to say how great these new builds are……. what does that tell you of which industry he/she represents ! Think very carefully before you sign on the dotted line.

  36. dawn moodleydawn moodley

    @John Galloway (or fake name Simon) when you will build an extension it will cost you around 8,000£ plus to build it and 60£ to inform Beltway. (Beltway cannot deny you permission as long as you have planning permission, read your TP1, it will say that permission cannot be reasonably denied). So instead of 8,000£ , your extension will cost you 8,060£. Whats the big deal with that?

  37. SimonSimon

    Anna G – I am sorry for the hassle your friend has suffered, what you say is of no great surprise. The taking over of the management is a solution of sorts, but it does take a great deal of effort to organize, and a great many of the other households will support the idea……. but i can bet not many will want to take it on in their spare time. I await with baited breath Dave King coming back with his top tips on how to go about it, and how easy it is to achieve.

  38. SimonSimon

    John Galloway – I assume you mean you purchased a Leasehold property (originally) and then purchased the Freehold ? If that is the case then what they are saying could be correct ! Do you pay estate rent for things such as grass cutting, street lighting etc ? If so, then you have also signed a TP1 when you first purchased your leasehold house…… it may be this that they are using to squeeze more cash from you to build an extension, i am not 100% on this of course, but if you asked them directly how as a ” freeholder ” you need to pay permission fees i suspect this will be the answer. The purchase of the Freehold does not extract you from paying any obligations under a TP1, Sorry, but that is the real danger of ‘ fleecehold ‘, you are never truly free of charges for doing what the rest of us do for no payment.

  39. Anna GAnna G

    Hello all,
    I live on an estate with this darn management fee. Neighbour on our estate got treated horrendously a few months back. Poor lady was in hospital for a few weeks, came back home to late payment demands from the management company! What a disgrace. Now she must pay additional penalty fees or be taken to court. So from £480 annual charge, and now this poor woman has to pay close to £800 even after calling them and explaining the situation. I know 6 other households on this estate and we’re thinking about self management, but its basically impossible it seems. You need at least 50% of the estate to sign up and agree. We probably have about 200+ houses on this estate. And then on top of that, someone actually has to do the work. A few of us complained to the managing agent along with our neighbour because actually, for certain this year just gone, no-one came to cut the grass but we’re still paying for it.
    Sorry for the rant, but I wanted to just spread the word and some googling brought me here. I read a few old posts and I don’t know why some people here think its £30 a month, because you can’t pay monthly, you just get an annual invoice. Technically yes, its £40 a month, but in reality, we pay lump £480 a year (this year), but its been steadily going up over the years. And its hard to pool money like that.
    Lately I’m feeling like its not my home anymore. What happened to our friend really shook us up a bit.

    @ Dave King, please would you explain fully the process of hiring a local management agent please. How do we go about it? How do we kick out the current management agent? Please explain the steps fully because if it is really easy, it would help us out.
    Thanks.

    Kind Regards

  40. John GallowayJohn Galloway

    3 years ago I bought a property from beltway homes. I didn’t realise it was leasehold. When I found out I negotiated and bought the leasehold from them. I now want to build an single storey extension and beltway insist that I have to get permission from them and pay a fee before I proceed, is this true ( legal )

  41. SimonSimon

    Dave King – 🙂 You are still funny.

    Francis Alex – What ever you do, do not stop paying, then you have fallen into a legal trap you will not get out of, you need a specialist property solicitor to look over the TP1, every one is different and therefore they may have sections in there which allow some wriggle room.

    Darran – You may need to give a few more details of your issue.

  42. Alan BealeAlan Beale

    I live in Hinckley Leicestershire on Crest Nicholson Estate. Everything you have mentioned and is true in my case. Premier Estates are the company I have to pay to look after my unadopted road

  43. DarranDarran

    Yet again another so called authority demanding money for a service not wanted or asked for, pretty sure that even though my house is purchased by me owned by me maintained by me I’m still expected to pay full council tax to a council authority for the poor service they provide, which includes street cleaning litter picking so these idiots are expecting home buyers to pay again for a bit of maintenance that is already paid for via council tax

  44. Francis AlexFrancis Alex

    My problem is bought house spent nearly 1.5m, just now realised “communal are” that I am paying £1000/year is actually owned by developer & they intend to build more homes there. So I was maintaining someone else private land under the hood of communal area. What can I do here? Not interested in talking about will they get permission to build or not – that is different topic . Can I refuse to pay service charge?

  45. Francis AlexFrancis Alex

    My problem is bought house spent nearly 1.5m, just now realised “communal are” that I am paying £1000/year is actually owned by developer & they intend to build more homes there. So I was maintaining someone else private land under the hood of communal area. What can I do here? Not interested in talking about will they get permission to build or not – that is different topic . Can I refuse to pay service charge?

  46. Dave KingDave King

    At this point in time with mandatory right to manage/change management company coming in it will be absolutely stupid not to buy a house in an estate if you are getting it in the right location and right price. If the service charge is small (10-40£) a month you dont even have to care about it as its negligible and you get to live on a lovely estate. If the service charge gets too high then its high for everyone on the estate , in that case kick the management company out , get a local one and then continue enjoy living on the nice estate for a negligible service charge. I really dont see what the problem is. Its obvious that Simon/Hornet has been deliberately misguiding people here for his own interest. He spreads fabrications like banks are not giving mortgages , somebody was asked for 13,000£ (which in reality was for actually repair of a retirement house) , management is a hassle etc.

  47. SimonSimon

    Brian Green – As stated below by Hornet, plus i assume you have contacted Persimmon and simply asked them about the charges for their grass cutting etc ?? Just a word of warning…… why sack them if they are currently cutting the grass twice a year and not charging you !!! 🙂 The taking over of the management is often an admin hassle for whomever is doing it, go into it with your eyes open. I do understand though why this needs to be sorted out, the selling of any of the houses on the estate will run into problems without the service charge side of things sorted out, any solicitor of a potential buyer would pick up on this immediately and it could derail any sale. If Persimmon charge you all a reasonable amount for the twice yearly grass cutting then i may well stick with them and let them do the management, remember also that you will need to obtain 3rd party liability insurance as well……. there is a lot to setting up a Ltd company and managing even a small area. Good luck.

  48. HornetHornet

    Brian Green – Your responsibilities should be detailed in the TP1 of your house, but often the plans showing the boundaries are missing, but there will deffo be a record of it somewhere.

    A conveyancer should be able to acquire these.

    I dont think they can backdate for 10 years, but maybe for the last few that they’ve been doing it.

    You should be able to set up your own management, but again it will be mentioned in your deeds. I really don’t know the process though unfortunately, you will basically have to set up a ltd company and all the households will need to be a director of it… its like living in a block of self managed flats… you will probably have to seek some proper legal advice, but it should hopefully be straight forward…however there are certain conditions that must be met. Submit accounts, articles of association etc etc etc… just paper work but make sure its done.

    The first port of call is probably a solicitor, some will give a free first time consultancy.

    Good luck, let us know.

  49. Brian greenBrian green

    bought a house 10 years ago from Charles church which had in the deeds an estate management fee. No payment from anyone on the estate has ever been paid as the original estate management company went into administration. Since then Charles Church was purchased by persimmon homes. Persimmon now cut the grass twice a year, but again no payments have ever been made. Can they request the payments are back dated? Can we sack they and appoint are own company? How do I find out what they are responsible for and what the council is responsible for? Hope you can help or point me in the right direction.

  50. Brian GreenBrian Green

    Hi – I bought a house 10 years ago from Charles church which had in the deeds an estate management fee. No payment from anyone on the estate has ever been paid as the original estate management company went into administration. Since then Charles Church was purchased by persimmon homes. Persimmon now cut the grass twice a year, but again no payments have ever been made. Can they request the payments are back dated? Can we sack they and appoint are own company? How do I find out what they are responsible for and what the council is responsible for? Hope you can help or point me in the right direction.

  51. HornetHornet

    LOL.. this guy still ?!…

    He reckons anything unmanaged (ie council owned) will be filthy and unmaintained… but all fleecehold managed estates will still have most of the roads & pavements run by the council… so he’s saying these will also be filthy and unmaintained even after paying hundreds extra a year in fees? …LOL !!

    Please… do continue, you’re making us look good… ROFL.

  52. dawn moodleydawn moodley

    Yes simon the forum is to guide people not misguide them with lies like the way you/hornet have been doing for ages about houses in estates.

    You can google “problems with old houses” , there are about 100 times more articles and videos which will explain what any buyer misguided by you will be taking on by leaving a house in an estate and buying a problem ridden outdated house on a filthy unmaintained street.

  53. SimonSimon

    Dawn/Tim/Hayden etc……… you get the idea. The ramblings have been fun 🙂 , but the forum is here to assist people who are having either issues with new builds with estate rent, or have questions on the same, the feeding of a troll only distracts from what the real issue is.

    Let us all wait and see how these new build estates pan out in the future shall we. If the people who come onto this forum wish to understand the pitfalls of buying an estate rent home then simply Google ” Fleecehold ”, there are many articles and video’s on the net which will explain in full what any buyer will be taking on.

  54. SimonSimon

    🙂 🙂 Add Sam Higgins to my previous list of ‘unrelated’ individuals……Given how this person is so intent on extolling the virtues of paying to maintain land you do not own, when the rest of the country get it for free…… what are the odds this person works for/or is aligned to, the building industry (aka the new build industry) ……. i wonder 🙂

    …… and to Mrs Joyce, this is an excellent time to sell a house…. any house ! There is a shortage of all properties coming to the market so yours should sell quickly, the real issue will be finding something else for you to buy, given what i have said above….. nothing is around at the moment, so ‘true freehold’ homes, without estate rent, will be in even shorter supply. All the very best with what ever you decide to do.

    P.S. You may get the right to manage your estate…… but you still have to pay, and deal with the hassle of it all !

  55. Sam HigginsSam Higgins

    Mrs Joyce ,how much service charge are you paying . if its giving you sleepless nights then it must be hundreds of pounds a month or thousands per year. but if its 20-30£/ month then you surely have other issues with your health if 30£/month is giving you sleepless nights. As far as selling is concerned you will be stupid to sell right now when new legislation is about to come in to bring in right to manage which will mean that every estate will use local management companies reducing the serivce charge. Prices is managed estates will be soaring soon as councils (un)managed areas become even more filthy than present as no one wants to take responsibility to look after them. I am sure you will regret taking simons advice. I wish you good luck with your health.

  56. SimonSimon

    🙂 I smell a rat here …… if you analyse the various posts of the following – Dawn Moodley, John Woodham, Philip Myers, Tim Walton, James Kinnear, J Samuels, and Hayden you will see that the posts are written in a certain way, the general punctuation/grammar is very familiar, and the use of the term ” £30£/month” is unique, and across most of the postings…….. but they are all different individuals 🙂

    The game is up.

    The first part of Dawn’s post is correct though, in the end it does all come down to if you are prepared to pay…… I am not.

  57. dawn moodleydawn moodley

    in the end it all comes down if you are prepared to pay 30£/month extra to live in a well looked after managed estate or would you rather live in a council unmaintained area. fortunately living in a private estate makes sure that one is not living with people like simon and hornet as these are the kinds of people who will create a nuisance for every one else for petty issues.

  58. SimonSimon

    Mrs Joyce – I am sorry to hear of your problem, the simple answer to your question is no…… there is no alternative as we stand today, other than to sell. A lot is made of the current discussions that the govt are having on the introduction of legislation, to cover the Estate Rent problems plaguing new builds. In my humble opinion this is a red herring, it will not get rid of these charges, it will only allow you to challenge them in the same way that leaseholders currently do. The simple truth is you signed a legal document (TP1), agreeing to these charges, the govt cannot simply abolish that contract, if it did then there would be total mayhem with any legally binding contract that had been signed, not ever going to happen. If you do consider moving then i would do it sooner rather than later…… when this scam is better known about then some potential buyers will treat estate rent homes in the same way as leasehold homes…… to be avoided. All the best with this, having this kind of stress in your life is awful.

  59. Mrs Joyce BoltonMrs Joyce Bolton

    I am a victim of one of these properties paying money twice a year sometimes even 3times to First port . Sleepless nights are involved as l am paying this money and do not see anything for it living on the outskirts of the development in Beverley it’s a big con Legal fraud as we don’t get told the truth when buying the house. Is there no other alternative but to move to get out of this Nightmare

  60. SimonSimon

    John – Your opinion of local authority managed areas is a little grim, where i live we have no street lights out and the area is beautiful, minimal litter (we have various residents who litter pick as well) and the grassed areas are cut and managed just fine thank you. It is clear that you like paying for something that I get for free, that is just fine., you carry on as the CEO’s of the large developers will eventually need a new Lear Jet 🙂

    Hornet – I suspect that some people just love to pay monies because it makes them ” feel better ” than others who do not, odd behavior, but as i have always said we all have free will and that includes doing very strange things 🙂

  61. HornetHornet

    @John Tim…

    LOL this guy again?!… But most of these managed estates have the road adopted as well as the street lights… So what then?… You still end up with all these litter strewn streets and broken lamp posts you imagine exist across the land?
    Haha…. What a guy.

  62. Darren StubbsDarren Stubbs

    Hi Tim,
    Noooo, he pays a lot more than that. I think he said he pays around £1.5k a year. That was a few years ago when it was the last time I visited him and he had a moan.
    I’m not sure what he pays now, but every year they have to contest this management company, otherwise it would be a few hundred pounds more again.
    I used to joke that he can afford it. Gets him pretty angry because its every year they have to fight it.

  63. SimonSimon

    Darren – I agree with you on the Leasehold side of things, if i were to purchase a new build with Estate Rent, (not likely 🙂 ) then i would want it to be Leasehold and not Freehold. The developers are only selling them as ” Freehold ” because the govt have banned Leasehold, but oddly enough they give better protection for the home owners when it comes to challenging the services invoices…….. a strange world indeed. The point you mention about it being a battle, how true that must be, i have better things to do in my free time than argue with faceless companies about the fixing of a street light or litter on land i do not own.

  64. Darren StubbsDarren Stubbs

    @Tim Walton,

    I don’t know the if the estate has a name? I just visited a friend couple of times.
    I will say it is near by the riverside, though obviously I’m not stupid enough to post their address on here.
    It’s older though, probably around 15-20 years old (I think).
    Actually, one thing he did say was for once he was thankful his property being in London was a leasehold, and seeing as the management company was tied into the leasehold, they have the right to challenge it properly. But alas, it seems to be a relentless battle every year with their management company.

  65. SimonSimon

    Phillip – Yes you are correct that the govt are looking at ” Fleecehold ”, but not to ban it……. to make it more accountable like Leasehold……. i don’t want to be able to challenge my monthly service charge….. i do not want to pay it at all !!!! It’s up to you Charles of course, i wish you well what ever you decide, but for me anyone buying a house with estate rent is on a hiding to nothing.

  66. philip myersphilip myers

    @ charles , the petitions are already working. you can search for the upcoming parliamentary legislations on this on the commons website. unfair management fees are soon going to be a thing of the past. A small amount of money 20-30£/month will always have to be paid to keep modern develpments to a high standard of maintainence so that they do not look shabby like council maintained areas. Also 99% of what simon/hornet write on this forum is false. Their lies have been uncovered by many on this forum.

  67. SimonSimon

    Hornet – Class 🙂

    I too have been in a few houses from the George III period, utterly beautiful, with high ceilings and rooms you could not just swing a cat in but a herd of elephants…….. i wonder if the CEO’s of the main developers are paying estate rent ….. let me take a guess.

  68. SimonSimon

    Charles – I am not too sure a petition will work, the govt have a vested interest in allowing these private estates, if all these estates became the responsibility of the local council then more funding would be needed……. this way the poor new owners fund what i get for free, and the council avoid spending money. This estate rent scam is here for good i am afraid, the only way to avoid it …….. well i am sure you know by now.

  69. HornetHornet

    LOL… yes shame on all of you for not giving your money away to the developers and their management company mates.

    You disgust me for being poor and having the audacity to not want to pay even more money.

    Its only a few hundred quid… what you being so tight for?

    I mean c’mon, what kind of despicable poor person must you be if after handing £500k to buy a house, that you don’t want to keep paying again?… every year… forever?… call yourself a “Billy big timer”?…. its only a few hundred quid…. just pay it…give it away… how else is poor mr developer meant to feed his poor poor kids?

    Who cares you if don’t get a service… if you have to ask about the cost, then you don’t deserve to live in a nice place.

    You should be a baller like Tim Walton / James Kinnear / J.Samuels / Hayden… shelling out money left right and centre, that’s how you know you’ve made it and be part of the socially elite.

    Never mind those houses that actually belong to the socially elite that cost circa £10mil… those guys don’t have fee’s or have a management firm AND they’re old houses… like proper old with 3+meter high ceilings and solid walls, must falling apart those houses… poor fellas.

    Been to a house up north, it was cheap… only £2mil… also no management fee’s…. those dummy’s eh… it’ll turn to dust soon I bet.

    Pfft, and they call themselves rich people eh… get a management fee, then you can brag about it… all the top golf clubs insist you produce a TP1 with it in so they know you live in a high class estate with other rich peoples.

    And don’t forget your £100 p/m gym membership too… otherwise you must be fat and unhealthy and on the verge of dying, god help you… if you cant afford to pay £100 p/m for your own health and fitness, then you don’t deserve to live !!! 😉

    If you want to be a good ‘high class’ person and a big timer… Always choose to pay more…make sure you’re on the highest energy tariff and out of product, the highest mortgage rates… its just better yo!

    Shame on you poor people… you disgust me… because I’m considerably richer than YOW!

    If your house doesn’t have a management company making you fork our hundreds every year, you must be living in a faeces covered house. God help you.

    LOL 🙂

  70. Charles ColdreyCharles Coldrey

    Interesting article. I’m happy to sign a petition to support this as I’m also frustrated by paying high fees for poor service to a management company

  71. Tim WaltonTim Walton

    Simon if you go search online you will find that plenty of people have problems with old houses too. mostly people patch up the problems with their old houses and sell to the next gullible buyer . and the buyer pay much more that 400£/year to sort out those problems. At the end of the day it comes down to the question of whether you are prepared to pay 40£/ month to live in a well maintained, nice looking estate or not. Millions across the UK happily live in such houses. You can keep propagating doom , asteroids, meteors but the fact remains that going forward people are going to happily pay more to live in modern houses in well maintained estates rather than be stuck in outdated houses surrounded by pathetic surroundings.

  72. Tim WaltonTim Walton

    to be fair, if you cant pay 40£/ month then you dont deserve to live in high class estate. Maybe in that scenario you will be already be facing the CCJ for not being able to pay other things (mortgage, credit card etc). And when you are selling a house for 500,000£ and cant pay 250£ for the admin then god help you. Again its a matter or class and mentality and what 40£/month means to you and what kind of neighbours you want. and for your that neighbour story is a hoax as any parking enforcement on estates is always applied in cooperation with residents. @darren stubs which estate was it in London? I expect no reply just like all the fake stories that you have propogated on this forum.

  73. SimonSimon

    Tim – Wow, that is a bold claim indeed that 95% are happy, i guess only time will tell if the estate rent houses of the future have a better resale value than my true freehold house. If Mav is happy with what estate rent means then by all means i am not here to put him off, just go into it with your eyes fully open. I also agree with Tim that only people who are unhappy tend to go online to complain, but that does not mean they are doing it for no reason……. they complain because they have a reason too. I would advise anyone considering buying an estate rent house to search online and look at Youtube for the various broadcasts from the likes of the BBC to the BBC podcasts. It’s all about research, this forum is just one outlet for those who do not like the estate rent model, if you can find a forum that is totally supportive of the model then also listen to them and decide. Free will……. that is what it’s all about.

  74. Darren StubbsDarren Stubbs

    Well to be fair, I don’t think £300-£500 p/a is a small amount. Those houses are horrendous in London, some sites even have/tried to force private parking measures suddenly. My mate had it in London, suddenly one day home the management company painted yellow lines and fined people. There was a long and expensive legal battle to finally win the case, but how disgusting they had to do that. That’s what you get, because your hands are often tied and those snakes know it. You are put in a position of vulnerability with such a contract. That’s the simple fact. Anyone telling you otherwise with any conviction is probably just another snake of a salesman. Pay £500k for a house then pay £500 p/a, then pay again if you want to sell, then pay again if you want to alter the home, then pay again if you ask for correspondence, if you don’t pay, you’ll get a CCJ and taken to court and end up paying hundreds more in penalty fees because they send in a debt collection agency which is basically just another sister company of the management company.

  75. Tim WaltonTim Walton

    @mav if you like the house and estate then go ahead and buy it. managed estates are usually very well maintained and have a lovely community feel to them . 30-40£ a month is very small charge to pay to live in a nice area. Millions across the UK happily live in managed estates. The problem with researching online is that only people who have problems go online and complain on forums. 95% of people who live on estates are happy and have no time for moaning online. In the future managed estates will have much greater resellibility as they are maintained so well. This is already the case in London.

  76. SimonSimon

    Mav – Right i understand now, i am clearly not 100% sure on this but given the indemnity is to protect the lender here and now i doubt it can be transferred when the house is sold on in years to come. The lender seems to be super careful on this one, i would have expected the clause would have been enough for them, do not worry about it given indemnities are needed for many things when buying a house. I am guessing you fully understand what estate rent is and are happy to sign up so all the best with it in the future.

  77. MavMav

    Hello Simon, Thank you for your help and advice. There is clause already that the lender will be informed if we don’t pay and they can step in and pay any charges but the lender wanted the insurance as well and the sellers has agreed to pay it.

    We are just waiting for the solicitor to get back to us, but do you know if the insurance will be passed on to the next buyer or will we have to buy another one?

    We are first time buyers and this whole process has been very confusing and stressful, we think this is OK to now proceed?

    Thank you so much for your help.

  78. SimonSimon

    Mav – I cannot speak personally of dealing with this as i have never purchased a home subject to estate rent charge – But, if your lender will grant a mortgage on the house now then why would a lender in the future not do the same thing with the same indemnity ? I agree that it is very unlikely the developer will agree to the waver of the S121 of the LPA 1925, I have heard of these indemnity’s before where other lenders accept them. The lender has to have something to offset the threat to their security, there can be a work around though, if the developer agrees to a clause being placed in the TP1, this clause could say that no action will be taken to take possession of the property or create a lease on it without first informing the lender that the estate rent has not been paid, this then could satisfy the lender that they could intervene before it gets too bad. The advantage of such a clause is that if will be there when the house is sold on so no indemnity will be needed for any future sales……… just a thought and it may be something the developer will agree too given the clause is still staying in.

  79. mavmav

    Hello,

    I am in the process of buying a freehold house with estate management fees. It will be a resident run management company but we have section 121 in the transfer deeds and the mortgage company are asking for an Indemnity insurance and are happy to lead as long as we have the insurance.

    My question and worry is about future sale and remortgage? at the moment the mortgage company are happy to lend with the Insurance but will this be the case is 5-10 years time.

    We don’t know if we should go back and ask for a DoV and remove section 121 but are solicitor thinks it will be a small chance they will agree.

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  80. HornetHornet

    Personally, I didn’t say getting a mortgage would be a problem… like you said, its already happening right now.

    What I might have said though, is that it could become an issue in the future getting a re-mortgage if banks start demanding changes in the TP1 otherwise get lumped with a standard variable being out of product.

    Albeit, this isn’t something that put me off the most.

    The money isn’t necessarily (for me) the problem.

    I’m not sure why you think older houses need ££££ in repair, because they don’t. Sure, some might do, but certainly not most.

    Just like many MANY brand new builds are riddled with problems that are an absolute nightmare to try and get the builder back to rectify…if ever. Many fob you off and you end up paying privately again to get it fixed.

    The problem for me is that it doesn’t feel right and think its naff…. I want a freehold house, not a pretend freehold.

    I don’t think its OK for developers to manufacture this new version of leasehold. Its not a lot of money, but it shouldn’t be anything at all.

    Again, only a very simple search on management firms like RMG will show the hassle they cause.

    I don’t want to have to deal with another invoice, another body to pay/get permission from, someone else to pay when I come to sell for some info pack.

    Saying its not a lot of money, so you should just pay it, is an appalling attitude.

    I’m not sure why you think its better to pay a fee and have a 3rd party entity intrinsically tied into the house a good thing?……. the only ppl I’ve met so passionate about trying to convince others its good to pay fee’s are the developers and their sales and/or estate agents….. basically, anyone who wants to make a buck out of you.

    The whole system should be outlawed just like they outlaw the sale of leasehold on houses.

  81. SimonSimon

    J.Samuels – The £££ was in reference to the uncapped nature of the TP1, and although the figure you quoted may be typical, it is by no means set in stone, Let us wait and see when the first of the attenuation ponds needs work done on them or one of the pumping stations breaks down or needs to be replaced (some estates have these). I doubt they will be fixed with small change.

    James Kinnear – I have already stated a few posts ago that i am not aware of any lender who has refused to lend, so not too sure where you have this from, i think they need to take into account the conditions of each TP1 to ensure their security is …… secure, but given i have never purchased an estate rent house i have never had any issues with lenders at all. If you park the lending issue (if there is even one ) for a while, the basic premise of ‘ estate rent ‘ is that the owners of such houses have to pay for the maintenance of land they do not own, have no control over who uses it and have no control on what is spent on it………… I (as a true freeholder) have none of this……. oh, and we both have to pay the same council tax. That is the elephant in the room i am afraid.

  82. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @simon and @hornet, both of you have written on this forum multiple times that lenders have been denying mortgages for houses with estate charges. Now both of you are refusing to give even 1 example of such a mortgage lender. So have both of you been intentionally lying non stop on this forum? what is stopping both of you from revealing which mortgage lender is denying mortgages for houses with estate charges?

  83. J.SamuelsJ.Samuels

    @simon
    1. Older houses require much more £££££ in running costs/maintainence/repairs.
    2. What you are referring to as £££££ for estate service charge is actually 30-40£/month on a 300k plus house. its not really £££££.
    3. If you read modern TP1 you can do anything with a modern house no one can deny you reasonable permission. same constraints for planning permission.

  84. SimonSimon

    J Samuels – Nope, just like the owners of a freehold house with estate rent cannot (which with time will get old !), we are both equal on that score, but the crucial difference is i am not contractually obligated to pay £££ the management company wishes to charge me for something totally out of my control. Just like Hornet, i do not want a 3rd party to be able to tell me what i can do with my own property, i see it as them having an interest in MY home…… no thank you, i will stick with good ole fashioned true freehold.

  85. J.SamuelsJ.Samuels

    @simon can you cap your home repairs bill on an old built house? I hope thats not worth peanuts to you.

  86. SimonSimon

    J Samuels – No, of course i cannot cap my car repair bills, but my car is worth buttons in reality, so if the repairs become too much i scrap it and get another…… but a house ! It’s not just the lenders which are of concern, it is the fact that like anything in life (car insurance, house insurance etc), the costs of everything goes up with time, so a £40 a month bill now could be ??? in the years to come, and unlike a car which i can sell easily, my home is somewhat of a different proposition. I guess only time will tell how these estate rent properties will fare on the open market in the future, but whilst there are still non estate rent houses out there, why would i take that chance. It will be of interest sitting on the side lines seeing how this turns out.

  87. HornetHornet

    For me, I really hated that a freehold TP1 read pretty much just like the leasehold I used to own. Its naff… and not what I want from a house. Yes of course mortgages will be granted, even those with the worst credit scores can get loans!… its how people make money. It wasn’t just about the money risk for me…but just the whole situation didn’t sit well.
    For me, when I buy a house, I don’t want some management company with a finger in the pie… its just silly and there is no reason for it and personally find it unacceptable.

  88. J.SamuelsJ.Samuels

    what J_Smyth , Simon and Hornet have written is certainly not true. Banks have been aware and active on the estate rent charges clauses in the TP1s from as far back as 2007 when these estate rent charges concept were first introduced . They have always insisted since the beginning to insertion of the mortgage protection clause in every single TP1 override the estate rent charges. It is an industry standard requirment. Not a single mortgage has been denied because of this. Banks always add the estate service charge to the expected outgoings of the borrower and are fine with it as they know the amount has to be audited and explained and can not be unreasonable otherwise the managing company can be taken to the RICS dispute mechanism. and Simon can you cap your monthly outgoings with certainty (eg Car repair, house repairs etc etc). J_Smyth which large multinational bank denied your mortgage solely because of estate service charge? why dont you tell us?

  89. SimonSimon

    Hayden – Granted i have never purchased a house with estate rent but what i know of it is…….it is totally uncapped, so although the stated monthly charge for cutting the grass etc maybe around the £40 a month mark it cannot be capped at that, also if the home owner decides to not pay it (for what ever reason) then the developers do have mechanism’s to get it and control over your property. I do understand the govt are looking at all this and putting in better protection but right here, and right now a freehold house with estate rent does not have the same protections as a similar leasehold house on the same estate. The one thing i do know about banks it that they like certainty, and the open ended nature of some of these TP1’s would make some of them nervous.

  90. HaydenHayden

    J_Smyth we are still waiting to know which bank turned down your mortgage application just because it was an estate with service charges? why beat about the bush with fake stories of bank A, B, C etc. Banks add the service charge to your monthly outgoings and calculate your affordability as it is a small amount 30-40£/month at max. No bank and I mean no bank refuses mortgages because of estate service charges.

  91. SimonSimon

    J_Smyth – Thanks for the clarification, i do see your point about most borrowers not knowing they were turned down by other lenders, if you do use the developers financial bods then why would you know, they simply go to whomever will lend on it, and you get the big tick in the box from the one who has agreed it. The blank cheque side of things though is very real, no one, and i really do mean this, will know for sure what their liability will be year to year, and it is this total unknown which i could not sign up for. I hear a lot of potential borrowers wanting a cap on the yearly charges, but this can never, and will never happen. I do accept though that some will not see this as an issue, and as i have said in other posts, we all have free will and we can make our own decisions….. but do it with the knowledge of what it entails. All the best with your search.

  92. J_SmythJ_Smyth

    Why would anyone need to create a fake account to sound a warning.

    I never said that all banks don’t lend. In fact the broker found me another lender the next day albeit with a higher rate. But by then the damage was done for me.

    I actually agree with management fees in principle, we’ve all seen how long it can take the council to bungle through repairs and completely waste resources. But right now it’s unregulated and you’re signing a blank cheque with the security deposit being your house. Once this becomes more well known it will affect selling the house. Therefore whatever the developer told me the fee is now is irrelevant, they could tell me it’s tuppence a year right now but it’s impossible for anyone (including the lender) to know what it will be tomorrow.

    For my penny worth I also agree with covenants, nothing makes an estate look worse than the obligatory riff raff who have bike parts on their drives, 30 year old battered Land Cruisers with 3 wheels etc. Seriously every street seems to have one of those guys, with a union jack flapping in the wind.

    BTW, when your broker calls and says “great news bank C agreed” they don’t say “oh but FYI A and B didn’t” do they. So of course you wouldn’t have heard of lenders refusing before. Because 9/10 new build buyers probably use a specialist recommended by the developer. But I got lucky, I phoned the wrong line and at first wasn’t using the mortgage broker that my developer recommend

  93. SimonSimon

    Hayden – Yes i agree, it will be of interest, i have seen some article or other mention that some lenders are a tad worried about the problems which can be caused to ‘ their ‘ security if the home owner decides not to pay the fees demanded. I am not aware of any that have refused totally a mortgage application on a particular house.
    My real issue with all of this is very simple, i just do not want the hassle of it all, i work full time and i like to spend my leisure time relaxing, dealing with management companies etc should there be an issue in the future is just something i do not want to do. I really have no issue with anyone who goes into estate rent with their eyes open, none at all, but they have to understand what they are agreeing to and what obligations they are signing up to. I am not confident that when Mr and Mrs Average walks into any of the major developers they are told the full truth of what estate rent really is, or for that matter that it is even there at all, it is often sold as ” a small fee for grass cutting ” or something along those lines. Let us see.

  94. HaydenHayden

    @simon lets wait for the answers @J_Smyth comes up with. it will be useful to know which bank is denying mortgages for houses with estate charges. It will be easily verifiable to check if true or fake.

  95. HornetHornet

    @ James…

    1. why would anyone park their vehicle in my drive?… actually if that did happen even in a managed estate, no one will stop them.

    2. TP1 does not dis-allow dogs… nor will any management company step in to resolve neighbour disputes.

    3. What does someone elses house have to do with mine?… if anything it’ll make my house more saleable 🙂

    4. You do know you need a council licence for that LOL !?.. which wouldn’t be granted in such a situation anyway.

    HOA is deffo from America…certainly not Asia or Australia though. The HOA thing is horrendous…having AGM etc all the time. Nightmare.

    This management fee nonsense is basically leasehold in disguise…but with no protection.

    The RICS thing sounds OK in theory, but you only have to do a simple search on management companies reviews to see that this is not the case in reality… you will be paying for nothing in many circumstances. Disputing will never relinquish your obligation to pay… you always have to pay first… that’s your legal commitment.

    LOL if the government put up council tax for everyone by 0.1% of their house value you think people would just think that’s ok?

    If it wasn’t a problem and open to abuse, it wouldn’t have been brought up in parliament.

    Old houses are exactly where the most affluent ‘rich people’ live though?!?… I thought you would know that.

    Freehold will be around forever ?!… unless every house / land in the UK is gonna be bulldozed and re-bought haha.

    Decisions on a property need to include covenants too… why would you not want to read or have a full breakdown of a binding contract?

    Look… I get it… you enjoy paying more fee’s! Like I said before, its your money, do what you want with it.

    But if you could choose to buy the exact same house but without fees would you still choose to have fees and a management company?

    I know I would certainly opt to pay less.

    These arrangements are only to siphon more money from people because developers knew the leasehold cashcow was disappearing and needed something else.

  96. SimonSimon

    Hayden – That’s funny 🙂
    I have had a long day at work and that has put a smile on my face.

  97. SimonSimon

    James – An interesting view point i must admit, not one I, or i think Hornet shares. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one and i wish you well in your new build.

    J_Smyth – Well done, you were right to be concerned, as you say if a leading lender will not take the risk why should you ! It is not just the fees which can be the main issue going forward, it’s the perception that the public have, once they get ‘nervous’ about houses with estate rent, then it does not matter how much of a reasoned argument you make…..they will not be viewed as something to buy, right or wrong, that is how people are. I wish you well in the search for a true freehold house, they are out there, in lovely areas. with bags of character. All the best.

  98. HaydenHayden

    @J_Smyth you seem to be Simon making a fake comment under a fake name.

    1. Which bank denied your mortgage? Banks usually ask for a deed of variation , they never deny mortgages because of the management fees.

    2. Which development was it? are you trying to say no house will be sold on that development as banks are not willing to give mortgages there? every months thousands of new builts are sold in the UK with banks giving mortgages. so what you have written does not seem to be true.

    3. how much was the management fees?

    4. who is the developer?

  99. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @hornet its up to you if you want to live in a house in which your crazy neighbour can

    1. Park an ugly boat or camper van in front of your house and there is nothing you can do to stop them.

    2. Keep a large dangerous dog because of which your kids a scared to leave the house

    3. Colour their house ugly black or similar so that no one wants to buy your house anymore

    4. Decides to run a van repair business from their garage.

    Remember the TP1 restrictive convenants are so designed so that house values are protected from crazy neighbours and to maintain uniformity and desirability on the estate.

    The fees have to justified and you get an estimate at the beginning and actual cost at the end of the year which are audited and you can challenge them with a RICS surveyor if they are grossly unjustifed. And this is even before the promised regulatory legislations come in.

    The restrictive convenants and management fees actually come from HOA rules in America and are a standard accross North America , Australia , Asia etc.

    If 500£/ year means less than 0.1% of a house cost and 2% of house cost over 20 years it is really not that much of an amount.

    Remember old houses were built to be lived in the 20th century. Do you still use a telegraph instead of a mobile?

    And outdated terms like Freehold , leasehold are not going to last very long once comprehensive legislation comes in.

    Decision to buy a house should be based on price, location , the built and layout of the house itself , not on lies that random sales people tell on site or not on lies that random Simons or Hornet post on online forums.

  100. J_SmythJ_Smyth

    I have just pulled out of buying a new build for this very reason. I got lucky, the mortgage lender refused me a loan due to management fees and it led me to investigate further. Had I not investigated further I may have fallen into the trap of believing the sales rep or solicitor (solicitor recommended by the builder).

    If a massive multinational bank is worried about getting their money back either through uncapped monthly fees or more likely NOT BEING ABLE TO SELL in the future, then I should be too.

    I count myself lucky. Feel sorry for all those who used the solicitor of their developer (not impartial at all) and didn’t realise what they signed up for.

  101. HornetHornet

    @ James… I personally don’t need to know about specific cases to know that the risk is unacceptable to me. I mean if you think its ok, then that’s your choice…. if it was actually OK it wouldn’t even be a debate.

    However it’s not just the fee’s either, the TP1 also have a lot of restrictive covenants that for me are unacceptable (which carry on forever).

    It really just boils down to 1 question / decision…

    Do you want a freehold home that:

    a)……
    * you pay circa on average £500 per annum every year.
    * has an uncapped & unregulated annual fee.
    * has restrictive covenants preventing the ownership of certain vehicles
    * has restrictive covenants preventing the ownership of certain pets in your own home.
    * has a 3rd party management company that can meddle with dealings in your own home.
    * has a 3rd party management company that you must seek approval and pay more money to, in order to make any alterations to your own home even after council planning approval.
    * has a 3rd party management company that you have to pay off when you want to sell your home.

    OR

    b)…. have a freehold home that has none of the above?

    A modern development really doesn’t mean much.

    Of course there are many people just like you who think its ok, or don’t give it much thought. That’s fine. Personally I don’t want to pay even more bills if it can be helped.

    There’s no reason why developers have created this new ownership model other than for even more continuous revenue. You pay a premium for a new house, then you continue to pay a ‘members’ fee for it.
    It’s a slow bleed so you’re not crippled by it, but its just more money being syphoned off for no good reason at all.

    If you like to pay the fee’s, then that’s great for you.

    Most showroom sales people have tried to say the same as you… really bought into their training talks.

  102. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @hornet and @simon for all of your doomsday scenarios of sink holes, fly tipping, bulb changing, road repairing etc etc name 1 development where the service charge has crossed more that 0.1% of property value per annum. ( keep in mind service charges have been around for 15 years in the UK and much longer in the rest of the world). That means if a family lives 20 years in a property they will be paying no more than 2% extra to live in a modern development. Also name one house which has been repossessed.

  103. HornetHornet

    @ James…. I know you directed the fly tip comment to Simon, but I think you’ve misunderstood again.

    If you pay estate fees, and someone fly tips in your back garden, you still have to cover 100% of the cost yourself…no management company will sort out issues in your own boundary…that’s pretty obvious ?!

    If someone fly tips on the open land, you will have to pay more again, because your fees are for the open areas.

    There is no insurance for that…. any insurance you’re thinking of is for protection of the management company, not for repair or maintenance.

    Any fly tipping on normal adopted land is sorted by the council.

  104. HornetHornet

    @ James, some really great arguments there, but not sure I would totally agree with them.

    Obviously, you are totally entitled to your own views based on your experiences, but in my experience not really.

    1. obviously we’re not talking about ‘chavvy’ council estates here LOL… they’re going to be bad where-ever you go… but 99% of freehold houses before 2005 were proper freehold. None of this management fee nonsense… that included all the nice cul-de-sac places too…of which there are plenty.

    2. this is wrong… any parks will a) be a massive financial burden on any residents if ever need replacing and b) the residents never own that land, its public but remains the property of the developer…not the houseowners… developer can do whatever s/he likes on it…owners just pay for it.

    3. why do you think that?…. there were millions of proper freehold cul-de-sac made before management fees were a thing.

    4. um…insurance does not cover ‘wear and tear’… replacing street lamp bulbs, elec cost of lamps, resurfacing unadopted roads/pavements, fixing any pump stations or unadopted attenutation tanks/ sub stations etc will be totally on the burden of the transferee. There is no insurance for that.

    5. New houses being ‘better’ to live in are really subjective… i think majority would be against you on this one though… i personally do think its nice to have a new house, but only if you find a good one, as many are smaller and tightly built.

    6. Actually this comment made me chuckle a bit…. and makes me think you’re a bit of a wee troll actually ?!… I can assure you that this is certainly not the case in my experience. The sought after ‘rich peoples’ places are older properties like in Kensington… £15mil houses that are just on the street (not cul-de-sac)…contrary to your slating in your point 3.

    Some ‘rich people’ who want a gated community for privacy/security do pay a premium for their estate fees, but you’re very much confusing those with the average new build home model… those gated private estates are actually private…. all these open rentcharge fees are fees on open land…. its completely public, but you pay for its upkeep privately, but anyone can go on it and its their right.

  105. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @simon . what happens if fly tippers dump in your back garden? does the council pay you to clean that or you from your pocket? on a private estate 500 plus residents come together and pay for insurance for 5£/year which takes care of these problems .

  106. SimonSimon

    Daniel Paul – I cannot help i am afraid as i have never sold or purchased a home with service charges, what is your solicitor saying on this ? I have to say though the timescales you are quoting do seem very long, i understand why all those parties need to sign off on the deed (including your lender i think) but the delay does seem odd indeed. The solicitor is being paid a lot……. i would be chasing them. Good luck.

  107. SimonSimon

    James – Just to answer a few of your points. I would agree that most private estates look better than most council estates, i live in a true freehold house in a very nice area (cul-de-sac.not council) and I do not pay estate rent I never pulled out of buying a new build on a private estate, so was never anywhere near the signing of a TP1, I did look but the whole idea of paying for the maintenance of something the local authority should pay for simply made no sense to me, if you wish to pay for something i get for free then that is totally your decision. I see real trouble ahead for those who live in freehold houses with estate rent, in time the public will catch on to this scam and the properties will be less desirable. We all have free will, and that means not everyone will agree with each others decisions. My main issue with this income generating model is the uncapped nature of it…….. if fly tippers dump tons of waste on the green areas near my house the council pay to clear it up……. what happens on the private estates, who do you think pays for that. Time will tell of course how the public react to them, but with leasehold now banned, the estate rent model is the natural successor for extra income.

  108. Daniel PaulDaniel Paul

    Hi we are currently purchasing a free hold property which is just coming up to 2 years old . There is a £12.60 service maintenance charge on the estate . The sellers have had to obtain a deed of variance. What we didn’t know it’s had to be approved by the local council , the sellers existing mortgage , their help to buy which I believe homes England that is and finally sent to the land registry. Has anybody been in this situation ? . According to the sellers solicitor it is currently with homes England (help to buy) but they seem to be taking ages to approve this . We agreed an offer July 2020 and everything was moving promptly then we hit this problem around October 2020 and we are still waiting for approvals . If anyone could help it would be greatly appreciated.

    Daniel

  109. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @ simon
    1. The private estates are much better looking and better maintained than council estates.
    2. The advantage is that you have parks etc that belong to the residents that no one else can build on .
    3. They are relatively secluded with no thorough traffic unlike your house which will be on a street with traffic.
    4. Liability is covered by insurance which when divided between 500 houses comes to roughly 5£/per house per year.
    5. New houses are better to live in and more expensive the world over , not just the UK.
    6. If you ever go to London you will see that houses on privately managed developments are much more sought after than old council mismanaged public areas. as rich people all live in private developments.

  110. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @simon
    1. Did your TP1 have the provision that any disputed related to estate rent charges can be taken to a RICS surveyor. if yes then they cant just ask you to pay 10K hypothetically.
    2. Did your TP1 have the provision than more than 50% of residents can get together and form their own RMC and change the management company if they were hypothetically asking you to pay 10K.
    3. Did your TP1 have the mortgage protection provision against the rent charges. ? Is there really a possibility that someone who lives in a 300,000 plus home cannot pay 30£/month?
    4. The BBC story 13 K bill refers to a over 55s retirement estate where the management company was supposed to repair/maintain the actual houses not just the common areas as the houses would belong to the management company after death of occupant. This is completely different from what you were about to buy. You are mixing 2 completely different things.
    5. I have a feeling you have been grossly misled by your solicitor which is why you pulled out.
    7. have you ever heard of the reserve fund being more than 10% of the bill. remember they have to provide proof of where the money is going.
    8. It has been mentioned in parliament as at the moment freeholders do not have equal rights to challenge them as leaseholders which the current housing secretary has committed to change along with reform/regulation in this sector.

  111. SimonSimon

    Totally agree with the comments by Hornet below – If you take your eye off the various clauses and the detailed legal speak in the TP1, what are you really agreeing too ? Exactly what we all know to be true….. totally uncapped fees for as long as you own said house, and this for land that anyone in the whole world can venture upon, Why would any one do this ? The home owners on these private estates pay the same council tax as i do, but that is where my liability to incidents outside my house ends. Most sensible individuals will not sign up for an amount of money they have zero control over. There are many posts on this forum from individuals who advocate taking over the running of the estate ……. why….. do any of you truly want to spend most evenings and weekends chasing debt from your neighbours or dealing with tradesmen who did a rubbish job (or no job at all). I for one have an active personal life and value my spare time greatly. The idea behind private estates is simple… it is another income stream for the developer and it’s a get out for the local authority, and the poor people who buy the houses pay for both. Do not look for ways to get around the TP1….. simply do not sign it and buy a true Freehold house.

  112. HornetHornet

    @ James Kinnear…

    Well realistically, if its gotten to that stage, the management company will certainly escalate the fees due to any late payment so it wont just be the initial fee. Nor will it simply be added onto any mortgage monthly repayment because there will be additional interest added on.

    If you cant pay the bank, the bank will repossess your home.

    Don’t forget TP1’s will also stipulate there will be a requirement for a reserve fund to be paid and these will not be able to be contested… it will state something like…

    “A sum as shall be considered necessary by the Management
    Company (whose decision shall be final as to questions of fact) to
    provide a reserve fund or funds for items of future expenditure to be
    or expected to be incurred at any time in connection with the Open
    Spaces”

    Nope, I don’t know anyone personally who’s had their home repossessed by an estate company, but you don’t need to know about specific cases to know there’s a risk.

    I specifically asked a question to my conveyancer regarding uncapped fee’s.. my question was “what’s stopping them from charging me £10k next year for ‘repairs'”…… their answer was, “although unlikely, my concerns are wholly valid as the TP1 does not stipulate any ceiling on fee’s”

    Even if a management company cant/wont repossess your home, the open possibilities of estate fees is not for me. There is really nothing in a TP1 that states a transferee is protected from anything… it will just be 20+ pages of how you must pay all the fees and not park certain vehicles on your own drive etc etc…. and that’s enough for me personally to be put off. If it wasn’t an issue, we wouldn’t be discussing it.

    There was one case reported by the BBC in 2019 of an elderly woman being charged £13k for a single year, obviously its not just her, but everyone on her estate. Its easily searched for.

    Searching for specific companies like RMG or Greenbelt to name a few will show exactly how poor the situation is.

    Hey, at the end of the day, its your money, do what you think is best…. if you don’t see a problem with buying a house that’s attached with open ended uncapped and unregulated management fees forever, then go for it. We can all do our own risk assessments.

    In my opinion, if it wasn’t really an issue, it wouldn’t have been brought up in parliament.

  113. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @hornet so what that basically means is that someone who cant pay a 30£/month estate charge obviously cannot pay a 1000£/month mortgage and instead of owing the bank 1000£/month will owe them 1030£/month instead. Are you aware of even a single house out of millions accross the UK that has been repossessed by estate company?

  114. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    @ hornet. so what that means is that someone who cant pay a 25£/month estate charge cant obviously pay a 1000£/month mortgage as well. So instead of owing the bank 1000£/month he he will owe the bank 1025£/month. So whats the major issue there?

  115. HornetHornet

    @ James Kinnear
    March 2, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    What will happen is that the fee will be demanded… the mortgage company will be notified.

    The bank obviously will never let go of this property, so what will actually happen is that the BANK will pay the management fee, which is obviously then added back onto your mortgage repayments as a separate split mortgage account (with interest).

    This means that if/when you ever default on your mortgage repayments, the bank can still repossess your home.

  116. HornetHornet

    @ James Kinnear
    March 2, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    The TP1 clause you quoted about chartered surveyors sounds good. However, in reality, this is what’s basically going to happen… the management agent will simply ….

    a) demand you pay first because referring a case would not delay payment as often this line will be attached….

    “…any said objection by
    the Transferee shall not affect the obligation of the Transferee to pay
    to the Management Company the Charges…”

    b) the management agent will simply write to RICS and say XYZ requires doing, and the surveyors cant really argue because its not JUST the fees associated with the fixing/replacing… its everything else… company running, accounts, salaries… all sorts of fees attached…. i mean just take cutting grass for example… if a group of 50 houses each pay £150 a year for cutting a small patch of grass, thats £7.5k total paid annually… that’s grossly above what anyone would pay… but people will never win against the cost of that.

    Don’t forget RICS has no real interest in dealing with your case… if something needs doing, then it needs doing.

    Any arguments is totally on the onus of the transferee, not the management company… you still have to pay your fees… and wait for any response from the RICS.

  117. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    that is when a mortgage protection clause exists in the TP1 which it does now almost in all TP1 s.

  118. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    Simon the 40 days bit is not true. Almost every TP1 has a mortgage protection clause. the management company has to give a 60 days notice to the mortgage bank before they can even consider reentry. banks prefer to pay the service charge instead of taking risk on their collateral. are you aware of any bank not granting mortgage to modern builts with estate charges. there is an article based on hearsay from 2019 that santander is not granting such mortgages however Santander has since confirmed that there is no such ban from them. they check every case on a case by case basis. are you aware of even a single confirmed case where a bank refused a mortgage just because a property is bound by estate charge?

  119. SimonSimon

    James – If that clause was in the TP1 then on the surface it would seem both parties would be bound by the decision. I have never signed a TP1 so i cannot say if that, or a similar clause would routinely be in them. I understand that TP1’s are similar along many lines but they do also differ. The obligation upon a person who signed up for Estate Rent is massive, if the payment demand is not paid for 40 days there is often a statutory right for the developer to grant a lease to trustees on the property !!! And there is no requirement to tell the lender of this….. this is why a lot of banks etc are catching onto this and not granting mortgages. If you consider how long any challenge to the payment will take, it brings into real focus how fast the management company.developer can act. The power to be able to challenge the charges easily may well come about in time (when the govt pull their finger out), but the elephant in the room is that Estate Rent is a massive unknown financial burden on anyone who signs up for it, it absolutely needs to be avoided at all costs.

  120. James KinnearJames Kinnear

    do most freehold tp1 not contain the clause “if the tranferee at any time object to any item of the variable estate rentcharges as being unreasonable then the transferee shall refer the matter in dispute for determination by a person to be appointed by the president of royal institution of chartered surveryors and whose decision should bind both parties”. Is it not correct that if such a clause is present then in actuality freeholders have the right to challenge unreasonable charges?

  121. SimonSimon

    Drea Malloy – I think your issue is the ‘ Freehold ‘ tenure, this gives the management company a get out in terms of having to provide a breakdown of costs. There is legislation to cover the challenging of charges levied on Leasehold properties, but ‘ back in the day’ it was never even thought of that a true Freehold property would ever have shared responsibilities for roads, lawns, play areas etc, so no laws were ever enacted. The point you make is a very fair one, and i would be angry indeed if i had received an invoice of that amount, but when you add in the hire of a cherry picker, the daily rate of the guys doing it and the ‘ admin ‘ of the management company….. you arrive rather uncomfortably at those figures. This is a stark and brutal example of exactly what the signing of a TP1 really means…. open ended fees, with no cap and zero accountability. The street lighting costs will not only be the electricity or the bulbs but any other work they need, and eventually they may need to be replaced. The govt are looking at this side of the ‘ fleecehold’ model but as with anything i would not hold your breath, it could take years if not a decade. The comment you make about in the real world no one would pay a bill without evidence….. totally true, but not in the estate rent/Fleecehold world of todays new build estates. There is, at the moment, very little protection for freeholders on an estate where a TP1 has been signed. Sorry.

  122. Drea MalloyDrea Malloy

    I staircased my shared ownership, changed from a leaseholder to a freehold. The clauses in the TP1 states I must pay a contribution for the electricity three street lights on the I adopted road. Myself and the nine other houses accept and agree to pay for the electricity.
    The problem I have is the management company are making demands for the electricity payments without providing any meter readings, or a copy of the utilities statement .
    For example for the year 20 19–20 20 they have claimed it cost £775.50 in electricity for three street lights. These lights only come on at dusk and go off at dawn. It’s not as if they are running 24 seven.
    Am I within my rights to ask for transparency before I pay?
    During 2019 and 2020 a bulb needed replacing on one street lights. Contractors were sent out with a cherry picker to enable access, whereby the board was changed. My concern is that the management company are now billing the 10 resident For the amount of £215 to replace one lightbulb. Yes you read correctly, £215. Again this demand has not been substantiated by means of providing an invoice or a statement. Am I within my rights to ask for evidence that will support their demand for £215.
    In the real world nobody pays the bill blindly, without first knowing what they are paying for. But this management company seem to think they don’t have to provide any evidence and Cambell willy-nilly

  123. HornetHornet

    The house I pulled out of buying in the end, which was a new build…was going to be RMG after the developer hands it over. PLENTY of horror stories with them… I feel even more sorry for when they realise there will be a phase 2 to the site, and these houses will also be liable for fees in this phase once built too !!!

  124. burrata26burrata26

    Broke February- I feel your pain. We are having trouble with RMG. We get no schedule of works they’ve duped majority of the estate to pay even though they have not yet taken over from Redrow, and we get no answer to questions to what they actually maintain. After looking into their business, I’ve found they have changed their business name many times, probably to get out of being taken to court most likely

  125. SimonSimon

    A good analogy by Hornet – To all those reading this forum who are considering the purchase of a house on an estate with ‘ Estate Rent ‘, DO NOT. To those who already have, i would advise you to keep paying the fees they invoice you for until you either sell the house or by a miracle the govt finally do something to allow you all to challenge the fees levied on you. All the best either way.

  126. HornetHornet

    Imagine going to buy a car… its a really nice car, perfect colour, all the gadgets you want, great MPG and really comfy…its only £10k too…what a bargain…. You go and buy it, but just before you buy it… you’re told as a condition of owning this car, the owner is legally obliged to also pay for all the servicing, MOT, and insurance for another car that someone else owns… you’ll never meet this person but they’ll send you a bill every year, and if you dont pay, they’ll take you to court and potentially take your car as payment….

    Would you buy such a car?

    Yet people are more than willing to enter into such conditions when buying a house worth hundreds of thousands!!!

    Mental.

  127. SimonSimon

    Sue – I have no experience with Blenheim or any other private estate management company, but the elephant in the room with them all is that they have carte blanche to levy uncapped fees on any freehold house that comes under their remit. Does it really matter which one it is ? The ideal is to strive to escape this form of property ” ownership ” (and i use that term loosely).

  128. HornetHornet

    Sue… just check out Trustpilot… plenty of 1 star reviews… there are also a lot of 5 star reviews, but its blatantly obvious these are fake as they only ever either invited reviews or reviews left by accounts that have only left 1 review for that account… obviously and shamefully paid for reviews.

  129. Sue FoxSue Fox

    Anyone got issues with Blenheim??

  130. SimonSimon

    Paul – Now that is the question……. in my humble opinion any legislation will only allow the owner of the property to challenge the charges in a similar way that leaseholders do, i cannot see how they can be capped around inflation etc, if you think it through to its logical conclusion any cap makes zero sense. If you take one of my often used examples of a sink hole, yes unlikely i know, but other parts of the country have had them but they have occurred on land owned by the tax payer….. this will not always be the case. If your estate suffers one of these how can there be a cap on what you pay ? If there were, who would take up the slack…… not the tax payer for sure. The estate fees have to be uncapped for very good reason. I think at the moment the effect on future property values is unclear, but if the poor publicity on Fleecehold starts to increase then i can see it having a bad effect on values. Why would anyone pay the same for a house with uncapped fees when they could get a similar sized house without them ? The overall model for estate rent is flawed and in time i can see it ending, but those who purchased in the past will be locked into their contracts.

  131. HornetHornet

    Paul Sanders… what legislation are you actually referring to?… as I’ve not heard about anything being planned to come in?… I’ve heard of things being brought to attention, but no mention of anything actually going to be done?

  132. Paul SandersPaul Sanders

    Hello all. with the legislation that is supposed to happen in the next year what actual changes will happen. Will the estate charges be restricted to reasonable increments resembling inflation . will management fees (example firstport) which currently is 40 to 50 percent of the bill be removed from service charges. most importantly will there be an increase in sellability and resale value as compared to present valueof fleecehold properties if such a legislation is indeed passed. Also has anyone ever had problems in remortgaging their property if it is fleecehold.

  133. SimonSimon

    Broke – Welcome to the great new world of private estates and estate rent, your conclusion is correct, there is nothing you can do, the management company can charge these fees as the TP1 you signed years ago will say they can (i am sure it will). I do apologize for being so blunt but at least you will understand what to avoid when you purchase any other property in the future……. only buy true freehold ! Why should you, or any of your neighbors pay to maintain land that the public has a right of access ? Added to this will be fact that what ever happens on that land in the future……….you all pay…… what ever that amount of money is, not a chance.

  134. BrokeBroke

    I’m glad I found this article as I have been absolutely floored by the added complications caused by this in my current situation.

    I am going through a transfer of equity process having split-up from my partner who co-owned the property. I am lucky in the sense that I am in a financial position to be able to buy them out and keep the property. I also have a help to buy equity loan too.

    The mortgage was sorted within 3 days, which I thought would be the hard part! I was shocked to then receive a request from my solicitor to pay £100 to RMG for an ‘information pack’ that was supposed to contain the answers to everything my solicitor might require. I wasn’t sure why, so requested information from RMG who sent a condescending response saying that I had to pay for it and to not ask questions, basically. In the interest of getting things done, I went ahead and made the payment. It transpired that the ‘information pack’ didn’t actually have the answer to what my solicitor needed! After eventually getting the answer from RMG, they are now charging a further £240 for it. This is more than I have paid the mortgage company or help to buy scheme for their part in this.

    Honestly I’m really angry as there is no justification for what RMG are charging and it appears I have no way to contest nor argue. It’s daylight robbery and something needs to be done for others who are in my situation.

  135. HornetHornet

    Loulou…what a nightmare!!!…. who are the management company?… it’ll be someone like RMG or Greenbelt… it depends on the wording of your TP1, and it is this that you will need to quote verbatim if you want to challenge any costs. Otherwise, if it doesn’t have anything in the TP1 that protects you then you might be out of luck. The other option is to seek your own legal advice on the matter, but that obviously costs more money…maybe another £1k or so for some proper legal advice.

    As for holding off payments, DO NOT DO THAT… as you’ve already learnt, they can AND WILL take you to court and win… which they will then charge you THOUSANDS in additional legal fees… you’ll get a CCJ and appear on the next episode of Cant Pay We’ll Take It Away!!!

    If you don’t pay, you are in clear breach of contract and they’ll jump at the chance to charge you additional penalty fees. You can’t win that battle.

  136. simonsimon

    Loulou – Sorry for your troubles, i have not heard of your particular issue before but the unique nature of estate rent on a freehold house means they do not have to justify at all what work they do, or do not do…….. it is that simple, unlike leasehold which can be challenged you cannot question what the money you pay goes towards and if they have completed work or not. The biggest issue i think most owners have with the charges levied is how the tenure of their own house affects the owners ability to question the charges, in this case having a leasehold house would be better than a freehold one. If you do not pay then the combined might of this massive house builder will be upon you. There is very little you can do to fight this i am afraid, the govt are looking at this area to try and bring in some accountability but i would not hold my breath, and it may only apply to new build houses after any legislation is enacted.

  137. LoulouLoulou

    Good evening all

    Just had a good read through this page and wondered if any one had experience of or any advice about a situation I’ve just been put in.

    Live on a DWH estate with estate fees. I query the charges regularly as work isn’t completed and landscaping//maintenance is shocking. Had been liaising direct with the property manager over recent payment requests and a final payment request received and had queried the amount. I had also been providing the estate manager with photographs of the issues as requested by them. However despite this we have last week been served with a letter from the states solicitors for non payment of said fees and a balance of £474.22. The solicitors letter was dated four days after I had in fact succumbed to paying the fees. I have provided the solicitors with proof of this being paid via online banking, and challenged this bill served by the solicitors. They say we were two days over the cut of point !!! I told them I felt this extremely unreasonable given I had been in contact with them and that they had received my payment!!

    Both parties have agreed to drop the total cost by half. However still to this date none of the responsibilities and issues raised to the estates have been dealt with.

    Has anyone held of paying fees until furnished with a suitable response and said work has been attended to?

    Thanks in advance

    I

  138. HornetHornet

    Vik…wow…£58 pm is ALOT !… you should consider is there a cap on fees, if it does not explicitly say there is a cap on fees, then it means you cannot do anything if they make it £1000 pm or more.. its infinite.
    I pulled out and lost £3k to solicitor fees and i pulled out the week before exchange of contracts… and that fee was ‘only’ £150 per YEAR… but was uncapped (as they all are), so not worth my risk. Read the TP1 yourself also and you will see for yourself the horrible wording of contract which means the buyer is always not protected… the entire TP1 will state how you must pay the fee, how you must obey the rules… but there is no protection for you as the owner !!!
    Ask your solicitor a simple question then…. ask them… what will happen if the fee rises to £500 a month?.. what is there legally stopping that from happening the day after you move in?.. then you’ll see.

  139. SimonSimon

    Vik – well i assume you have read the various posts on this forum, so are fully aware that what ever you/your conveyancing solicitor does, you will be liable for uncapped costs for whatever may happen in the future on the estate ? There is little you can do if you sign up for this, we all have free will, and that means we can make very good decisions in life and conversely we can make really bad ones……. think before you sign. All the best.

  140. VikVik

    Dear All,

    I am in advanced stages of buying property at such an estate with service charge for ground maintenance(£58 pm). Please can you advise what should I be aware and should be asking conveyancing solicitor to take into consideration?

  141. HornetHornet

    @ Jimmy Shah… interesting question… I agree with Simon in that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy a home with estate charges…HOWEVER, in a hypothetical world, if a fleecehold was £100k cheaper than a true freehold, I may perhaps be tempted… actually, when I was in the process of buying a fleecehold which I ultimately pulled out of… I even asked if I could pay MORE for the estate charges to be removed… now these charges were mentioned to be ‘only’ £150 a year….so I actually mentioned if I could pay MORE £10k and be a true freehold, even though the house was overpriced anyway (the whole situation was good for me) but even then they wouldn’t budge!… I was prepared to pay over 50 YEARS worth of estate charges in advance to have the whole lot scrapped from a purchase… it was a brand new home, so they totally had the power to do this… and even then they weren’t interested…so think, they’re DEFFO going to screw you out of more than £10k in this time frame probably.

  142. SimonSimon

    Jimmy – I doubt anyone could tell you that, the reason for this is that both types are simply not recognized as being different, to an estate agent or a valuer they are identical……. but of course they are not. A new build typically cost more anyway as they are new/newer than their true freehold cousins, and like new cars they are over priced. To be blunt the comparison is not worth considering, i would not be tempted to purchase a house with estate rent at any price.

  143. Jimmy ShahJimmy Shah

    Hello all. what do you guys think should be the fair price difference between a true freehold house and an identical fleecehold house. for example a true freehold house is selling for 330,000 what would you value an identical “fleecehold” house in a similar location with lots of communal areas to maintain. thanks.

  144. SimonSimon

    Mark – You are correct, some lenders are taking a dim view of this new ‘ income model’ the developers appear to be keen on. If you purchase a house with uncapped estate rent fees then all bets are off as to whether you can easily sell it later on…… it is a risk i was never prepared to take.
    Jimmy Shah – As Hornet says it has been around about 2 decades but the rise in this form of income generation has only come relatively recently, i wish there were a search box for ‘ fleecehold’, i doubt it would be in the estate agents interest to allow potential future buyers to know the truth !!! As you now know, purchase a house which is true Freehold with zero common areas to maintain at your expense, where you own the land outright the property sits on, and the only charge for services you pay is council tax…… anything other than this, stay away. All the best.

  145. HornetHornet

    @ Mark… it took centuries to sort out the leasehold issue, I would rely on any government intervention anytime soon. I suspect the 20% of value will be AT LEAST 20% of the value of when you bought it. Its not just fees that are an issue, but there are rules you must comply with forever… in the old days, things like covenants only lasted for say 5years or until the showroom office is taken off site… rules like you cant alter the property etc… that was fair enough, but now rules apply indefinitely… eg you cant park trade vans on your own drive (so if you’re a tradesman, then forget about it) or owning certain pets in your own home!
    If you break these rules, you’ll get a fine…. for doing things in your own home??!….mental.

  146. HornetHornet

    @ Jimmy Shah – Correct… its been going around for at least 15 years… i would say year 2000 is when it all started and heavily ramped up by 2010. No, there is no such search option unfortunately with rightmove zoopla etc, and in my experience, estate agents are pretty useless in identifying these fees. I have asked a few that I knew the house came with a fee, and the estate agent said its not on their records so can assume no fees. Basically, sellers wont own up to such a thing, and estate agents are only interested in earning their 3%.
    My current house was built in 2000 but thankfully no fees.
    Also, you may think only a small common area would mitigate risk, but again, the fee is uncapped regardless. Issues of fly tipping, vandalism etc are still present.

  147. MarkMark

    I’ve already been in touch with my MP and have been told that this is under investigation. That said, I have seen that many lenders are now refusing mortgages on these properties and therefore, except to cash buyers, they are unsellable and by that token worthless. If someone has taken advantage of the government Help to Buy scheme, they have to pay back 20% of the current value of the property. Does this mean the homeowner can prove the house is worthless (£0) and simply get that debt written off? I doubt it, as the government could say the house has an indicative value, but that is hard to prove under the old adage “A house is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it”. In this case, no one is prepared to buy it.

  148. Jimmy ShahJimmy Shah

    Thanks Simon and Hornet. Basically from what I can understand this is a problem that effects almost all new built estates built in the last 15 years. The only way to go around it is to look for a old house or if want to buy a new built then look for one with very few common areas to maintain. I hope there was a search setting in zoopla/rightmove which could just filter out the so called fleecehold houses (freehold with estate management fees)

  149. HornetHornet

    Jimmy… think you already feel in your heart that its a bad move really… why risk it?… we’re not talking a small amount of money here… its hundreds of £K !!!… well its upto you mate… I personally dropped out of a house and lost £3k of legal fees about 12 months ago… would rather lose that than be held to ransom in my own home. Well you’re on this forum for a reason… you’re researching to only try to somehow justify it to yourself. You know the truth mate… give it a miss… You’d rather have an old house with problems that can be fixed like poor wiring and bad plumbing, because they can DEFFO be fixed, even if it needs stripping back… you can never ever fix a bad contract mate, its set in legal stone.

  150. SimonSimon

    Jimmy – Welcome, you are currently in the position that a great many owners of such properties wish they were in……. i.e they could still pull out and not go ahead ! The coming ” legislation ” that you refer too will only give rules on how the charges need to be broken down to show you all what your money is being spent on, what it does not do is stop the doubling clause your TP1 appears to have. The legal nature of the TP1 will not change with this new govt intervention, it simply cannot change, if it did, then what value would any legal contract be ? Worthless. The separate lease for the garage is odd indeed and would put me off on its own. I would not put too much store in what this, or any govt will do to help you, the position you are in is a good one, i understand that £,3,000 is a lot of money but thousands of current home owners out there would bite your arm off to be in your position right now. I do see trouble ahead with ‘ freehold ‘ houses with this type of private estate arrangement, i would not buy this house, but then again i have looked into this over a few years so am ahead of you in knowledge. In my opinion the future of housing in this country will have within it two types of private properties, those with estate rent and those without, the ones without will always be the more attractive to buy, where do you want to be when you do come the sell, and this scandal will be very well known about and affecting future buyers decisions. It is a total scam, do not fall into the rabbit hole !

  151. Jimmy ShahJimmy Shah

    Hello all. need some serious advice. I was in process of buying a fleecehold house . 4 bedroom freehold house with seperate leasehold garage built in 2009. lease for garage another 140 years. built by george wimpey and estate managed by Firstport (peverel). estate service charge 700/ year (lots of parks in the eatate) . Service charge has doubled in the last 10 years. When I first found out about “fleecehold” I was going to withdraw from the sale as I dont wish to be stuck with a house difficult to sell. Then I found that the government is intending to legislate to regulate on fleeceholds in a year. My only reason to buy a modern house was more bathrooms and less repair (hassle) involved . Given the government’s plan to legislate and my interest in avoiding hassle (both while living in the house and ultimately while selling it) should I go ahead with the purchase? I have spent a total of 3000£ on the transaction already

  152. HornetHornet

    Aaron…I recently pulled out of one… i too paid £500 deposit and also about £3k in solicitors, but for me it was better than going ahead with the unknown for a very expensive purchase. Yes the fly tipping is a great example and one I also asked the question of. I didn’t get a straight answer, which for me was answer enough!…other things that I had in my head were questions like… what if there was an accident and someone tried to sue?… who is liable?…. the TP1 I read stipulated you must become a director or sign a blank undated paper to become a director in the future at the developers choice !!.. so as a director you would be liable for prosecution because its the directors responsibility for upkeep. Always remember your open spaces are NOT private land, it is public!!!… anyone can go on that land, have a picnic, leave trash on it etc, and its up to you to clean it up.

  153. AaronAaron

    Thanks, Simon. That’s a really thorough summary. I hadn’t even considered things like fly-tipping.

  154. AaronAaron

    Thanks, Hornet, I’ve not signed anything for the property (I’ve paid a £500 reservation fee but happy to write that off if needs be). This is another example of regulation trailing miles behind the market. PPI, payday loans, leasehold houses the list goes on.

  155. SimonSimon

    Aaron – Welcome and a very good question, the simple answer is that what you have seen is standard. The specific pounds and pence figure you are after cannot be given, and never can be. The reason behind this is a valid one, it’s because the land outside your, and the neighbors houses is not adopted by the council (i.e the unlimited funds of the tax payer), whatever happens on it, and i really do mean that – Examples being mass fly tipping, a sink hole, a broken pump station, an attenuation pond issue etc, has to be paid for by all the signatories to the TP1……… the result being the fees have to be totally uncapped. I understand that some of the examples i have given maybe unlikely to happen but the management company cannot predict what could happen in the future, so they have to ensure that you are all legally liable for whatever ‘may’ happen. I personally could not sign up for that, it is too open ended and it is this element of the Estate Rent model which ultimately will cause it to fail. The upshot will be that in the eyes of future buyers of the properties they will view it as something to avoid (like Leasehold ). The fact you understand what the TP1 says is a good position to be in…… most sign up and have zero clue what they are legally liable for, only you can say if you are able to accept what i have laid out for you, but think ahead when you come to sell, by then the publicity of the Estate Rent model will be better understood by the public and may deter some from purchasing a house with these extra charges applicable. All the best

  156. HornetHornet

    Hi Aaron… this is where people seem to not comprehend. You will never get an exact amount nor will you ever get an agreed increase per annum. We aren’t exaggerating when we say the fees are uncapped and unregulated… it can be £100 per year for the last 10 years and on the 11th year a fee of £10,000.
    You are 100% correct in that the TP1 will purely state that you are liable for this fee…nothing else will be said of how you are protected against anything about it.
    in 2019 a woman was reported to be charged £13k for a single year…its reported on the BBC and is easily searched for.
    If its an older property, you can ask to see all the previous charges…but again, it doesn’t protect you for the future.
    You may also see in a TP1 that it could state that managed open areas are subject to change… so what I’m saying is, if its a brand new build and they’re still on site…any additional phases in the future may be added to your fees in the future and you may never know these until too late.

  157. Aaron IvesAaron Ives

    I’m looking to buy a freehold house on a private estate. The TP1 sets out that an estate charge will be payable and it will be estimated for the coming year the total amount required to manage the estate and I will pay a portion of that (divided by the number of properties). Is this the standard practice for estate charges? I was expecting to see a £x.xx figure and an agreed increase term (RPI each year)? Would this be contained in another document and am I looking in the wrong place?

  158. SimonSimon

    Craig – This must be a wind up …….
    Hornet has covered everything that needs to be said but i honestly cannot see how you can go down this disastrous route with a clear and informed mind. All the best anyway.

  159. HornetHornet

    Good luck Craig… suggest independent conveyancer and don’t be afraid to ask questions…read stuff below here too. Make sure your purchase is an informed one and that you understand exactly what rights you have and don’t have (covenants I have personally seen basically mean you have no rights)…long TP1 stating all the stuff you need to pay, but nothing that says you’re protected much. Also check if it states that open areas are subject to change at any time etc and check you can see what fee’s you’re obliged to pay in relation to (eg bit of grass, pump stations, electrical sub stations, private paths, etc etc) There was also some flats going up on the same site, and they wouldnt categorically confirm that any future fees would not relate to this site!… disgusting!… people could end up paying for their entrance gate repairs and carpark etc. Good luck.

  160. Craig CooperCraig Cooper

    Thinking of buying new build

  161. SimonSimon

    Joanna – Sorry to say but it is totally out of your control, if this sale does fall through then just pray that the next person to offer on your property does not have a house to sell with estate rent charges, it really is a total mine field out there. These things often come to light at exchange because that particular seller knows it is not attractive to have fees….. so they say nothing.

  162. Joanna StandenJoanna Standen

    Our buyer have Redrow house with estate management fees. It’s causing many problems. There are five people in this chain we have all invested in our own fees.It all came to light just before exchange. Not sure whats going on anymore. I have not bought a new property.

  163. Joanna StandenJoanna Standen

    I am not buying a new property. My buyers have a property with Redrow. There are five people stuck in the chain because of their estate management fees. We will all loose fees etc if this does not work out.its taking weeks ..Very upsetting for all involved.

  164. HornetHornet

    There was a case run by the BBC for a lady who got sent a £13k fee!… in 2019 so very recent, you can easily google it.
    Joanna, hope you check the property you’re buying into doesn’t have management fees either!

  165. Jo CampbellJo Campbell

    Trying to buy freehold house on private land. The property Title refers to Freeholder needing to enter into a Deed of Covenant with management company. The management company has long since been liquidated, therefore the title has a defect. We cant find the Directors of the company. The private grounds are small and maintenance required is low. Other freehold property owners manage the ground themselves. They don’t seem bothered about the title defect. Should I purchase with title defect as I will want to sell property some years later and don’t want to put off buyers. Is it also possible to set up a dormant management company where all or some residents only need to pay small admin charges or this not necessary?

  166. SimonSimon

    Joanna – I agree that your buyer should have been more upfront about the fees but the management charges are as toxic as Leasehold is, so trying to keep it a secret is becoming more common, if i had a ” Freehold ” house with estate rent and intended in the future to move …… i would sell asap before the publicity on this gets out even more and finding a buyer will get very tricky indeed. All the best with your sale.

  167. Joanna StandenJoanna Standen

    Our buyer should have told their buyer at the start about Redrow estate management fees .now stuck in the chain and may end up loosing lots ££ if they pull out because bank won’t release funds because of this issue.so very wrong on levels. All just before exchange

  168. SimonSimon

    Joanna – I expect others in the future will have similar issues when this estate rent scam becomes better known, the big one will come when the national press start to run stories on really large demands being made on home owners, this is inevitable as these ‘ new ‘ estates get older and the infrastructure starts to need work, then the cat really will be out of the bag.

  169. JoannaJoanna

    We are stuck in a chain with people who have a problem with estate management fees in Stafford. .. bad news

  170. SimonSimon

    Hornet – Very true indeed, i do not have recent experience with solicitors in regards the new style estates so take on all your points. It is a sad time indeed when the professional that you are paying is not explaining in full what the real cost ‘ could ‘ be, but what it is likely to be……… the example i have used in the past about pumping stations is still true, they will in the future need to be fixed and replaced and it is the home owners who will pay the 10’s of thousands, i doubt a solicitor would mention this level of detail. I guess it will only be the savvy buyer or those of us who are very cautious who will manage to avoid this scam in the future until the govt pulls their finger out and protects home buyers.

  171. HornetHornet

    @ Peter.. all great points from Simon… You definitely need to carry on paying… I pasted an extract from a management company below in a old post (scroll down), but here is a small summary…

    “What happens if you do not pay on time?

    If you do not settle your charges or do not agree an acceptable payment plan within 14 days of the charges falling due, you will receive a letter reminding you to pay or apply for an instalment plan as you will have breached your property’s purchase contractual terms.

    Stage 1
    Recovery Proceedings Commenced

    Stage 2
    Court Proceedings

    Stage 3
    Court Hearing”

    be aware, that there WILL be additional costs if any of the stages are activated…could run into thousands if they take you to court and lose.

    There is one small thing I sort of disagree with Simon though… traditionally, and normally I would also have said its the solicitors job to advice you of the pitfalls…however in my experience it was only mentioned as something to be noted. My solicitor was an independent one and one that was locally well known.

    Even after I asked should I be concerned he said “nothing to worry about, its all normal”…. it’s only until I asked specifically “so what’s stopping them from charging me £10k one year?”….. he said said “nothing”, but added “its highly unlikely to happen”… which I responded again, and asked “but its totally possible?”… he couldn’t deny it…. so you see, you must ask the direct questions and not beat around the bush of asking generalised questions…. I sent him a 20+ page PDF of a breakdown of the TP1 asking every single question relating to almost all the paragraphs of the TP1… I didn’t care if I was repeating questions sometimes… I wanted it answering.

    So my conclusion is with solicitors, is that in order for them to give you legal council, it seems its up to you to ask the right questions too… don’t leave it up to them to be proactive for you.

    Solicitors are really actually only there to facilitate the sale and purchase of a property in a legal manner, any advice given is a bonus and should not be taken as granted…unless you ask specifically your concerns then they must answer… lay them out in layman terms…and if you don’t understand the response, clarify it again in layman terms until you are happy.

  172. SimonSimon

    Peter – First and foremost, do NOT stop paying the fees, the legislation that protects Leaseholders in disputes like this is simply not there for Freeholders, the management company have powers to turn your ‘ Freehold’ into effectively a ‘ Leasehold’, they can prevent you from selling it and even take possession of the property, it is a very bad idea to stop paying. In terms of you agreeing to pay a ‘ small’ annual fee…… that is your interpretation, the TP1 you signed says differently. The charges are uncapped and unlimited, they simply have to be given anything can happen on your, and your neighbors land, if you do not pay for work they say needs to be done, who does ? The social housing side of things is well known, there is no way at all that the local authority would sign up for unlimited fees, not a chance, so as part of the planning approval process this would have been agreed with the developer. The last point i would make is that it’s the job of your solicitor to explain in FULL what you were agreeing to when you signed on the dotted line, this ‘estate rent ‘ scam has been around for many years, and i cannot imagine there is a solicitor in the country who does not understand the implications for home owners.

  173. Peter BamforthPeter Bamforth

    Hi, I am in a freehold house built by Keepmoat, we agreed to paying a small yearly fee for maintainance of the estate but was not informed of the implications and rules of the contract. We have since found out that not only do we have to pay our dues but also that the total cost of the 50+ social housing is split between the other owners. At present we are not paying any fees due to a dispute over this and the shoddy state of the area and poor workmanship. There are a few people that we know are of the same opinion and would be very happy to join a like minded group.

  174. HornetHornet

    Joan…sorry to hear that, but were you not made aware of the charges by the solicitor and seller?…yes its a real problem…and yes they can take you to court and easily win…mortgage firms are getting weary of these conditions now, due to affordability they cant calculate it because the fees are unknown. Hopefully it works out for you.

  175. SimonSimon

    John – I am so sorry to hear of your situation, i am sure you have read the various posts on this forum, and apart from selling the house there is no way out of paying the fees demanded. I have not heard of the management company being linked to the council before, but in the scam nothing much surprises me anymore. Regards.

  176. Joan ByfordJoan Byford

    I moved to a freehold property to be nearer my family to find i am burdened with these fees on top of full council tax i have worked hard all my life and now find i am crippled with these charges . I only have my state pension. promises to hand the responsibility to the residents have not materialised and when i complained was threatened with entry to my home the strange thing is our services company is a subsidiary of a company that belongs to the council no bills are sent out only letters just who is pocketing all this money .whilst happy near .y family i wished I had never moved and I don’t feel I can move again with my age and cost and covid

  177. SimonSimon

    I have to reluctantly agree with Hornet, i have so little faith in the govt to do any good on this subject. I have managed to avoid this future disaster and i now make sure all my family and friends understand the trap that is Fleecehold. I do feel so sorry for the future victims who will be groomed into this scam but as an individual I can only do so much, even with web sites like this one and some others it is an uphill battle. Not everyone can be saved, i just ensure the people i care about do not fall into this black hole.

  178. HornetHornet

    The BBC and Parliament are well aware…the BBC have covered the subject numerous times recently and the issue has already been presented to parliament recently too…. I very much doubt anything will change… it took anything for leasehold decades to change, and it only did so when fleecehold was becoming a thing, so developers weren’t so bothered…. i cant see anything ever happening, until the next ghastly mutation in property law that the developers can abuse.

  179. Dawid EnslinDawid Enslin

    Completely agree and understand. Thank you for making the time to publish this data. Please would you mind if we asked if you can approach the BBC or Andrew Marr show to raise this topic with Rt Hon Robert Jenrick so we can push UK.Gov to get this legislation forward for process through the Law Commission, that would really help.

  180. SimonSimon

    Steve – Well if the council’s planning dept are ok with your intentions what objection do the management company have……. have you asked exactly what they are unhappy about ? As Hornet says, normally they just charge you a nice little fee (for not much) and then that is that. It maybe something to do with the covenants on the TP1 that you have signed but the best people to go into detail are the same people who are saying NO, they really need to put a little more meat on those bones for you, they sound half-wits. As for options……. that is only determined on the grounds with which they are putting in the objection, and only a solicitor can advise you on that after you know what it is based upon, they cannot simply say no without a legally backed reason…… ie it is something in the paperwork you have signed which gives them that power. As Hornet says, it is shocking what power these little committees have. I am assuming that your property is Freehold ? If so, what you have is freehold in name only and really they have the same power over your property as if you had purchased a leasehold property. This is the reason i stayed away from leasehold and houses with estate rent, it is my decision (after planning permission) what i do with MY property. All the best with this.

  181. HornetHornet

    Steve… not sure mate, ask them if you can pay a fee for their consent. But otherwise, not sure to be honest. You will likely have to pay a fee either way to be honest, few hundred quid at least…. You could try a free consultation at a solicitors to ask the question to get some direction I guess. Sometimes its written in the TP1 that you cannot alter the appearance of the property for X amount of years (like 5-10years)…if its within this time its likely going to be a ‘NO’ straight away…. its a bit naff to have some faceless management company have so much control over your own house to be honest when you live in a managed estate like that. Some will even fine you for parking a van or having certain pets…. in your own freehold home?!?!…. boggles the mind.

    Good luck.

  182. stevesteve

    i have obtained planning permission for a single story extension to the rear of my property however; the management company are objecting to the build, what are my options.

  183. HornetHornet

    George – you need to get a breakdown of what exactly of what the fee can ever encompass in writing, just to be sure (eg there might be attenuation tanks underground on that field)
    Sounds like you might be in an alright position though.
    It is probably wise to get a seat at the table so that you can ensure they cannot abuse their power of setting fees.
    Although they said they wont double every year, there is nothing stopping them, and you can lose your home if you refuse to pay.
    Keep us posted, its a very interesting story.

  184. SimonSimon

    George – If all that is not adopted is as you describe then you’re lucky, some estates have all manner of nonsense to maintain and these estates will have major issues in the future. If you can persuade enough of the residents to take on the management then it is worthwhile doing it, it has been done by others i am aware of but on larger estates with more to maintain and it is these that i know have had problems. The daily and weekly management can be a fully time job and most of these people work normal jobs and have families, as you can imagine it is not overly compatible with a stress free life !! All the best with this, it is so sad that estates like this even exist, i do hope the govt put in place a structure to eradicate it in the future.

  185. GeorgeGeorge

    @Simon – Thank you very much for your detailed response, I’ve been struggling to find out information about this.
    Luckily – if that is an appropriate word – the management company only looks after a grass field the size of a football pitch with a couple of trees on it whilst all the surrounding paths, roads and streetlights were adopted by the local council years ago.
    I spoke to the estate manager about the charges recently as over 50% of these relate to ‘management fees’ which aren’t broken down and seem high (they did tell me when I asked what would stop them from doubling these charges that they would ‘never do this’, but funnily enough said that they could not give me this in writing….).
    It was then that they said that if we (as in residents) were not happy then the RMC could remove them as management company and replace with another. I will look into the TP1 in more detail to see if I can find out any more about this, but I’d hope it is a possibility as they are not the original management company. I will do some digging to see if I can find written verification of this.

  186. SimonSimon

    George – As far as i understand some of the TP1’s and other associated paperwork can allow for the residents to change the management company and some do not, obviously i am not sure which camp yours resides in…….. only a solicitor could determine this, and this would be my first port of call. I am not surprised that there is difficulty in securing volunteers for the position of directors of the company. It is a great responsibility to be a director of a Ltd company and can carry a prison sentence in certain circumstances when things go wrong (google this), couple that with the fact that a lot of the residents no doubt work full time and have all manner of family and other commitments….. why on earth would they wish to give up god knows how much of their free time to take this on ? I would also count myself lucky in regards the non invoicing of the first few years fees, they do not have to invoice you per year and can simply bill you later on if the service charge payment is valid and due, when they ask you to pay is irrelevant.
    If the estate does not have a functioning management company to take care of the un-adopted areas then yes, it could cause issues when a property comes up for sale, unlike houses without all this (where the council deal with it), if there is no mechanism to collect payment from the properties then what happens ? Some estates have pumping stations to pump away the waste from the estates, these in time will simply break and need to be repaired…… with no management company who sorts this out and more importantly who pays ? I assure you that if a broken pumping station is not dealt with all the residents will notice very quickly !!! Having a fully functioning management company is important, and although i would never buy a house with rent charge/maintenance charges on it anyway, i certainly would not without a management company to deal with the common areas. With no method in place to maintain the estate, over time it will go to rack and ruin…… so yes, the house may well become unsalable.

  187. GeorgeGeorge

    I purchased a new built Freehold property on a new estate 15 years ago from a developer and although there was a mention in the TP1 document about a management company I did not find out about this until 2019 when out of the blue I got an invoice asking for a service charge to maintain a green area on the estate from a newly appointed Management Company. Prior to this I never had to make a payment or received any communication about this from either the developer or a previous management company.
    As you can imagine I queried this with the new management company and they basically said that the developer asked them to take over the management of this open space and I had to pay as it was in the TP1, end of discussion…
    As none of the residents were involved in picking this management company and didn’t want them they told me that 2 people could request to join as directors for the Resident Management Company and by doing so get a vote on the sign off of the accounts and if they were unhappy with the management company, replace the management company / terminate their contract. As simple as that!
    I’m wondering if this is true though as if that’s the case wouldn’t more people on different estates do this? At the moment, they are struggling to fill these directorships and said that they would have to dissolve the company if they can’t get those positions filled which would make it impossible for people to sell their houses until resolved. This sounded like scare tactics to me, but is this possible as the properties on the development are freehold and the charge only relates to the green / open space?
    Any help in establishing fact from fiction is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for reading.

  188. SimonSimon

    Simon – As Hornet states and also in my opinion you will not win this. the future costs on all these private estates with estate rent are uncapped, they simply have to be given no one knows what can happen that will need to be funded, you signed up for this, that is the uncomfortable truth. The council will never in a month of Sundays agree tax payers money on an uncapped amount of money, that is why the HA have a limited liability to the yearly fees, you, and your neighbours do not. I am sorry to be so blunt but there are others out there right now about to sign on the dotted line for more of the same and it is a total scam. My biggest fear for the future……. when these estates start to show real signs of age, and some of the infrastructure starts to fail, who do you think they will come to for the costs to sort it out !!!!

  189. HornetHornet

    @ Simon Golding… That must be really frustrating, but I’m not sure what it matters?…. Your house contract (ie your TP1 + covenants) states you will pay the service charge whatever it will be!… what others have agreed is locked in already. If they’ve agreed a cap, then it must be honoured….HA is council owned, and there is no way in hell the council will leave themselves open to some backdoor uncapped fee. Their agreement with the developer to provide HA with a capped fee will mean the difference between planning permission granted or denied, so obviously the developer will bend to this, because basically they dont care weather the fee is divided by 1, 5, or 100… someone else will be footing the bill… and in your case, its you and not HA… its very doubtful you can ever win that argument, but I wish you all the luck, i hope you do win…actually, im pretty sure many HA houses in estates with fees don’t ever pay ANYTHING towards the fees !

  190. Simon GoldingSimon Golding

    i own a freehold house on a small estate of which 4 are social units. We were requested for more funds by the previous management company but found that it was only split across the private residents.

    when i refused to pay because i argued it should be costed to the social units, as well i was told that they have a cap of £260 per year and were not liable for any additional costs. Going back through paperwork it was amazing that this agreement was the only piece of paper not provided by the developer’s solicitor.

    So we been having numerous arguments with HA and developer and cannot seem to get past this issue to get service charge spread across all houses private and HA

  191. HornetHornet

    Oh Wendy, so sorry to hear about that… that is pretty quick, in my honest opinion, if you can, you should try sell and move. I dont think ANY new house should ever have a need for a pumping station… ALL drainage should always be naturally falling away…these stations will forever be requiring maintenance because of damage to pumps and blockages from your general sewage….all kinds of nasties from food/fats to excess toilet paper or baby wipes etc etc !
    Also, regardless of whose fault it is, its irrelevant… you still have to pay even it gets vandalised by some randomer… your property contract will state you and everyone on the estate WILL be forever responsible for ALL costs in these matters…whatever those costs might be…its up to you to challenge if you don’t like it, but be aware you are contractually obliged to pay the bill regardless until there has been a legal victory.
    In this day and age is exactly when it all started sadly… homes did not have this issue that were built pre-2000.

  192. SimonSimon

    Wendy – I am sorry the pumping stations have gone down so quickly, but i have commented a while ago on another post that these large value items have a limited lifespan, yours is somewhat shorter than even i thought. After only 2 years can the original developer be contacted and asked to contact the machines maker……..they have to be warranted to last longer than that. The end result though is that yourself and the neighbours have agreed to be bound to pay these charges in the TP1. When you say that ” its your fault ”, who said that and what have you all meant to have done ?

  193. WendyWendy

    I am living on an estate where i own a freehold and have lived here barely 2 years and been told both the pumping stations have broken down and myself and all the residents have to pay for it because they say its our fault. We also have to pay for the sewage to be removed regularly until these are fixed. I have never lived on a new estate and honestly wish i had never bothered. We have already had to make one payment towards these pumps after living here barely a year. Its an absolute disgrace that this allowed to go on in this day and age. I am absolutely fuming.

  194. HornetHornet

    Yeah £200 p.a is alright… IF it remains that way moving forward… listening to the news about this storm hitting the country, there are flood risk alerts….. it must be awful to live in a place knowing these risks annually… personally, thats how I would feel living in a rentcharged estate… that any moment now, it could go sideways 🙁

  195. SimonSimon

    Kevin – On the surface of it that sounds reasonable, on your TP1 do you and your neighbours have responsibility for the upkeep of unadopted roads, pumping stations, attenuation ponds, play areas etc. There are some estates out there with those things and more which over time will go wrong and need more ongoing maintenance. If all you have is a small grassed area then you are very lucky, just check what exactly you have signed up for but a £200 per annum invoice for these new build estates is low in comparison to others…… as you will read on this forum and in the national press.

  196. Kevin HolmeKevin Holme

    Service charge of around £200 pounds paid annually to Trinity Estates for upkeep of green spaces on the street. Persimmon Homes development.

  197. SimonSimon

    Sat Patidar – Although the house you own is on land that you also own (Freehold), you still have a financial responsibility for land, roads, gates etc outside of your properties boundary. It is this that i am totally against but it is this the developers see as easy money. I am afraid to say that until the legislation catches up with what is happening to you and lots of others there is little you can do to challenge their charges or work done.

  198. HornetHornet

    @ Sat Patidar…. as far as I know… the management company does NOT actually answer to you, even though you pay them… their contract and obligation is with the land owner, which is the developer, who obviously isn’t going to complain to them, as they make money from the management company too….also, you will never find a developer who is interested in your issues once they have left the site, unless there is a legal obligation, and even then they’ll try shy away from doing anything or they will certainly try to do the absolute minimum they can get away with. Hope you resolve soon.

  199. Sat PatidarSat Patidar

    Yes agree with this dispute with management services. Owning freehold however the road and gated entrance is leased to Premier Estates with poor mismanagement and spiralling out control costs. 14 homes all complaining collectively – Purchased via Crest Nicholson who simply don’t want to know as they transfer over.

  200. HornetHornet

    Simon… exactly…although it doesn’t affect me at all, my heart did sink a little when reading. Although this was only from one company, I would expect that all these management company’s take on the same approach and is standard across the board.

    The one line that stood out most to me was “…as you will have breached your property’s purchase contractual terms”… its just not right that owning your own freehold home should ever come with additional contractual T&C’s like this.

    I really feel for those who have one, but also should make people like Val feel they definitely made the right choice by backing out.

  201. SimonSimon

    Michelle – Wow….. that extract from Hornet is scary, i knew they could run rings around you but when you see it in black and white it hits home. The end result of purchasing a ‘ Freehold ‘ house on an estate with rent charge or similar is exactly as stated below. There is a big thing in the news at the moment about the leasehold changes and how great it is…… the developers have moved on from this now, they want to sell houses as ‘ Freehold ‘ as there is no legal redress for buyers to challenge the service charges, only with leasehold does this exist, so the developers are even MORE protected from any legal challenge to what they are charging……. you cannot fight this, these companies are multi million pound/international firms, budgets are pretty much unlimited and they will go all the way, they have to so they avoid any precedent being set at court which could cause this whole scam issues in the future for all developers. I have heard of TP1’s which have clauses in them back dating the charging of these maintenance fees to when the estate was first ‘ developed’, this could be years before any brick sits on another brick !!! Sorry.

    Val – I take your point regarding not knowing which estate will have them etc, but as Hornet says……. the age of the houses is the key, the older estates will not have these charges , this stream of income was not really exploited until the early 2000’s, my estate was built in the mid 80’s so is nice and simple when it comes to the paperwork…… it can be done and i would urge you to not discount them, there are a lot of very good houses on these older estates. The estate agents will know if there are charges and as stated….. just ask the question, they will not deliberately lie to you (he says optimistically 🙂 ) but at the moment most agents don’t understand the full ramifications of such legal obligations on the home owner, i can see this changing in the years to come as this scam becomes more known about, then we have another dark cloud on the horizon as the houses blighted by these never ending charges will be less desirable and therefore more difficult to sell. All the very best.

  202. HornetHornet

    @ Michelle.

    I just did a Google on Chamonix estates… they have a webpage…you should deffo take a read as it details complaints procedures…… BUT just be warned, there is also some scary reading regarding what happens if you dont pay…they basically send the bailiffs and take you to court (with additional fees on top)….you’ll get CCJ etc…

    This is copied from their website directly…it’s a long read, but well worth it…………

    What happens if you do not pay on time?

    If you do not settle your charges or do not agree an acceptable payment plan within 14 days of the charges falling due, you will receive a letter reminding you to pay or apply for an instalment plan as you will have breached your property’s purchase contractual terms.

    If this doesn’t prompt full payment by return, then our Client will usually refer the breach of contract due to the outstanding charges, to another Company/Solicitor (recovery agent) to commence the recovery of the outstanding debt. Please be aware that if this happens then additional charges will start to be incurred and they will be added to the outstanding debt.

    The following stages are not carried out by Chamonix Estates but will give you an idea of what happens if the demand is not settled on time.

    Stage 1 Recovery Proceedings Commenced

    Upon the Client referring a breach of contract e.g. having outstanding service charges, to a third party recovery agent such as their Company Secretary or their Solicitor, the recovery agent will usually issue a further letter demanding that the breach of contract is rectified and the associated charges settled.

    This letter often includes an overview of what could happen and indication of the additional costs that might begin to be incurred if the breach of contract continues. The additional costs associated with the recovery agent receiving the instruction, reviewing the contract and then issuing this letter will be added to the charges and costs associated with the breach of contract.

    If the breach is not remedied by the demand being settled in a timely fashion, then matters will move on to the next stage,

    Stage 2 Court Proceedings

    If the breach is not remedied within the specified time frame in stage 1, the recovery agent will draw up legal papers for the Court and then apply to the Court for a Judge to issue a judgement. A copy of the application will be issued to the individual/party that is in breach of their obligations. There is usually a significant cost for drawing up, serving and paying the Court application fees. All these costs and fees are then added to the existing outstanding amounts resulting from the breach of contract.

    Should the Defendant settle before the Court hearing, they will still be liable for all the costs associated with the preparation work in Stage 2.

    Stage 3 Court Hearing

    Sometimes the Court will hear the case without the parties being present, relying on the parties written submissions to consider the case.

    Should the case be dealt with at a Court hearing, the Client’s agent will attend the Court to answer any questions that the Judge may have. Representing their Client at Court in this type of case will result in a further costs which are typically in excess of £250 for a 30 minute hearing.

    Having heard the case, the Judge will usually issue judgement in favour of the Claimant. At this point, the Judge issues a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against the Defendant. Being issued with a CCJ will usually result in the Defendant having this matter publicly recorded for all to see and will often affect their ability to obtain credit for many years after. All the costs associated with the breack of contract will then be due and must be settled within 30 days of the judgement.

  203. HornetHornet

    @ Michelle… like any sales snake, they can and will TRY to charge you whatever they like….well because basically they have free reign, and unfortunately, its down to you to either (a) simply pay OR (b) prove they’re wrong and fight the legal battles to win… it might be as easy as writing them an email and making a few phone calls to point out the issue…. you might have to round up loads of your neighbours to do the same…. you might end up paying anyway.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t know… I have no energy for this sort of fight hence I always tell people never to buy a home with management fees….BUT, if they demand payment, I would probably say its better to pay first and try fight later, because they can probably take you to court for not paying (and win) because that’s your contract…. if you own that house, you must pay those fees…that’s basically the jist of it…. you should probably read through all your covenants to see if it highlights any complaints procedures ( I hope you have it).

    Good luck.

  204. HornetHornet

    @ Val… I too live on an estate, it has no fees… my deeds are literally just 2 pages long…1 of which is a boundary map…and that’s how it should be for a freehold… not 40+ pages long.

    As for knowing which estates have fees or not, the age can usually be a good indicator at first…anything year 2000 and before ‘should’ be fine.

    I would make it clear to estate agents that they MUST tell me a definitive answer before I incur legal costs and threaten them with some light legal action in the first instance, that if you find out later down the line that there are fees and you’ve incurred costs to a solicitor to find out, then you will sue them back for all the money for trying to mis-sell a house to you…it might just shake them up a bit to find out the truth… also you can just view a house direct and if you see the home owner, just act dumb and ask them “oh is there an annual fee?”… make it sound like it doesn’t bother you.

  205. ValVal

    @Simon You make a v. good point, not all estates are the same. Even where these sorts of problems exist, i.e. where clauses are there, people may go years without any real issues. And for many, new build estates are the only remotely feasible properties available, especially for first time buyers. I suppose what I worry about is, how would I ever know which are ok and which aren’t? I’m sure that asking Estate Agents what the score is would not reveal ANY of these things, and I’d just be worried that covenants and rent charges would come to light only after engaging a solicitor and incurring costs that cannot be recovered. So I think for me, I’m going to give estates a wide berth for now 🙂

  206. MichelleMichelle

    I bought my house (im 2nd owner) in Dec 2017. There were 2 developers, Bovis and TW and 3 phases. TW handed over to Chamonix at various dates from 2016 (phase 1) onwards. Bovis did not hand over until Oct 2019. Chamonix billed us for Oct-Dec 2019. Now (Dec 2020/Jan 2021) they have back charged us for the whole of 2019. My question is if they are, for example, only maintaining 75% of the estate (other 25%, supposedly, being maintained by developer, how can they charge us 100% of the maintenance charges?

  207. SimonSimon

    Val – The right decision, and a brave one, as Hornet says it is best to take a small hit now than having far more serious issues in the future. The uncapped costs on these fleecehold estates are not truly understood, only as time goes by will this become apparent ………. and then it will be too late. I would not be too harsh on buying a house on an estate, not all estates are of this kind, the older ones (i live on one) are often true Freehold and do not have these onerous charges. All the best for the future and take care.

  208. HornetHornet

    Hi Val… firstly, thankyou so much for coming back and taking the time to tell your story. It is greatly appreciated. I am so sorry to hear your accommodation status may see a hiccup soon, but I do believe you did the right thing in the end. Better to have a short lived temporary hiccup now than be enthralled in something potentially financially and legally catastrophic later… or at least have it play in your mind forever. I too pulled out of my purchase late down the line and ended up paying circa £3k…but I didn’t want to live in a home that would be tied into a 3rd party in such a way either… and sure enough, like your experience, there were covenants regarding limitations on owning pets, certain vehicles on my own drive being allowed, even any alterations to the fence was an issue (which would include painting it a different colour)…all in my own home?… a house I will be paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for?…. not for me thanks. So well done for having the balls to do it and take it as a lesson learned that you can pass onto others forever more….take care… there are websites that name and shame fleecehold estates too.

  209. ValVal

    Hi all, I felt I owed it to this group to give an update for anyone interested in my property purchase (following my Qs here in November). Well, after months of expecting to close, I pulled out on the property purchase just before Christmas. There were just TOO many legal issues. So a freehold in name, but I fear in name only. The sellers did not want to do a Deed of Variation, their solicitors didn’t see the need. And if we wanted one, we’d need to pay everyone’s fees. There are at least 4 different companies involved in the estate, including a residents group, the landowner (presumably), an agent working for both, etc. It just seemed way too complex and though I felt bad, I didn’t feel I should have to pay for the protection a DoV affords. There were other issues which came to light when I received a buyer’s pack from one of the companies, and this had yet more covenants. It warned of expensive work that would need doing soon, on the estate, so it’s not hard to imagine the service charge will be going up. The final straw though, frankly, was learning that not only can you not keep wild animals and breed animals (which I knew, and was in the deeds, and which I was 100% fine with) but if I wanted a PET in my own home, I’d have to write to the management company for permission ( for a fee each time , of course). That was it for me. How can you own your home under such conditions?? That just isn’t the way I want to live my life. I feel for the sellers but honestly… The place is beautiful, I have nowhere else lined up and no place to live soon, as my rental contract can’t be extended and there is s*d all out there to either buy OR rent. But regardless, and despite being several thousand pounds poorer through this, it was the only sane decision. Needless to say, I won’t be looking at any house on an estate in the future. It just isn’t worth it, in my humble viewpoint. Thank you all for your advice, and I offer my sympathies to both buyers and sellers who have had to pull out/have had their buyers pull out for the outrageous yet totally legal conditions holding these homes to ransom.

  210. HornetHornet

    Hi Claire… there is currently no ‘bill’ to protect you from any capping of fees that I know of…there was talk of it, but I cant see anything being passed anytime soon…as for the other questions, you’ll have to fully read your contracts/deeds/TP1 and/or ask either a solicitor or the management agent when to pay…. How can you buy a home 4 years ago that wasn’t built until 18months ago?…Anyway, I do suggest you either ask for clarification from the management agent (good luck) or pay for proper legal advice as to what your options are….but you really should pay whatever invoice they send you though, because there could be consequences in not paying…I know it sounds wrong, but sadly, if you bought that house, that’s also the agreement…paying fees and adhering to rules set out by the management company (eg no alterations to your own house, certain pets excluded and certain vehicles excluded). Good luck. Keep us posted.

  211. Claire ChiversClaire Chivers

    Hello. We purchased a new build 4 years ago on a development which was only completed in Oct 20. The estate management company have billed us for fees prior to the completion of the development. Our own property was not completed until 18 months ago. The development as a whole is not being maintained to a good enough standard. Has a Bill been passed yet which allows us to challenge fees and to cap the amount charged? Also when do we legally have to start paying fees. I understood the development would have to be finished as fees cannot be used towards snagging etc on unfinished works. Is this correct?

  212. HornetHornet

    My last comment is applicable for both Hannah & Samantha really.

  213. HornetHornet

    @ Hannah – please tread carefully… if a property has the word ‘Rent Charge’ stipulated in its TP1, then there is NOTHING stopping the person you pay the rent charge to (i.e the management company) from taking over your house in the event you do not pay (they don’t even need to send you a bill) they’ll just say you should’ve paid, and now you haven’t, they’ll take you to court and seize your property. This is extremely possible….simply google “rent charge TP1 problems” and read the results. Any owner of this house will be tied into a 3rd party management company that has certain rights ABOVE your own…eg you’ll have to ask and pay them if you decide to alter the house (even fence)… this is in addition to any council applications….just think hard. You’re on this forum for a reason…. just so you know, I personally came across this forum (and others) a few months ago… i pulled out of a sale because I did not like what I read in the TP1… i still had to pay circa £3k for solicitor fees even after pulling out, but its better that then be lumped with something potentially devastating later down the road. Good luck and keep us posted.

  214. SimonSimon

    Samantha – In terms of what is ” usual ” it is a difficult one to answer, all developers have different T & C’s and obligations they want you to meet in the TP1. If the lender will only grant a mortgage with this variation to the notice period then the choice is easy…….. do it, or purchase another property, but have you truly understood what an obligation under a ‘ rent charge’ arrangement is ? A number of years ago people purchased leasehold houses without much thought, but now they are frowned upon so much so that a lot of new buyers will not touch them and discount them immediately from their search criteria, will the same happen with maintenance charges on Freehold houses in the future ? You could be buying into a problem in the future when you come to try and sell. Go into this with your eyes open and all the facts in front of you of what can happen when agreeing to this arrangement, search ‘ Roberts v Lawton ‘ and have a read. The variation is an admin glitch, it’s the whole rent charge scheme that would concern me more. Good luck with what ever you decide to do.

  215. SamanthaSamantha

    We are currently in the process of buying a 2 year old house on a new estate, it’s been a long process and now we are having issues with our lender around the ‘estate rent charge’ our lender wants 90 days notice if it’s not paid but the developer states ‘60 days notice’ our solicitor has advised we get a ‘deed of variation’ from the developer to allow the 90 days notice needed for our lender to be able to purchase the property. Is this something that usually needs to happen??

  216. SimonSimon

    Hannah – What is the reason for the current owners selling after only 1 year of ownership ? This is odd, i would find out if it’s anything to do with the TP1 and their obligations under it. If the mortgage company want a a deed of variation then they clearly see something in the paperwork which is not to their liking !!! My best guess is the item they want removing is the one which gives the management company the right to seize your house if you get behind with the payments. (i.e the banks security) I urge you (if you have not done already) to read the rest of this forum, it will highlight the pitfalls in this kind of arrangement, it could mean you have difficulty in the future selling the property, each TP1 is different and some are more onerous than others, i obviously do not know how bad yours is…… do you ?

  217. HannahHannah

    Currently in the process of buying a one year old house on a new build estate that is still not finished – we will be the second owners and the current owners haven’t paid anything to the management company yet as they were told nothing needed paying until the estate was finished. We were supposed to be moving in November until our solicitors identified that the clause stipulated in the sellers contract around freehold and the management company is written differently to how our mortgage company want it written and therefore we would need a “Deed of Variation”. We are now being asked to pay £750 for this DoV. Not sure if this is right or not?

  218. SimonSimon

    A very good point by Hornet in regards the monies that the lender has added to your mortgage……. you’re paying interest on this unauthorized (by you) loan for the remaining term of your loan !!!! It’s like putting a yearly holiday onto your mortgage and paying for it over 25 years. Madness.

  219. HornetHornet

    If you have the words “rent charge” describing your commitment to pay the management fee’s then that is the absolute worst situation to be in…indeed this law stipulates that the management company can indeed take over your house. Its totally backhanded.
    I had no idea they could force your mortgage lender without your knowledge to pay though and put the burden back on you!…you’ll be paying interest on that too…possibly at a separate higher rate?!…as mortgage amounts can be split.
    Sad really.

  220. SimonSimon

    Mark,
    I am sorry you have found out the hard way just how powerful the TP1 agreement you signed really is, you have highlighted to a lot of people what can happen. The legislation around challenging what work is completed is simply not there, if your property was Leasehold then there are routes you could go down to challenge what has been done (or not done), but that does not apply to freehold. I would urge you and your neighbours to NOT stop paying these charges, there are catastrophic outcomes that can happen if you do, some TP1’s allow a charge to be registered on the property and/or a lease taken out on it on behalf of the rent charge owner, be very careful on this one, this is why some lenders are not allowing mortgages on new builds with this clause in the TP1. The ultimate outcome can be that the house is seized due to the arrears, yes it is extreme but that is the power they have over your property. Only you, and your neighbours, know what they do for the £75,000 a year they charge, but this is exactly the reason I, and a small band of others on this forum were put off from buying on a new build estate with this ‘ Rent Charge ‘ Scam. I cannot emphasis enough though, do not stop paying the annual charges, until any new govt legislation comes in on this (maybe in the future) you will lose against them. Good luck.

  221. MarkMark

    We have a new build and have to pay a service charge there have been no work carried out what so ever in 2 years the grass not cut weeds 9ft high (in the summer) i know of 6 street lights that don’t work the two in our car park for a start not to mention pot holes broken curbs rubbish everywhere etc. we stopped paying them and they threatened legal action and in the end they went to our mortgage company (Halifax) with out our knowledge and got them to pay it and they put it onto of our mortgage its a complete con and would advise ppl to avoid new build i know its only £250 a year but times that by about 300 properties and thats a lot for nothing if I dont do anything I dont get paid but they do. Its about time this was brought into order and ppl are held responsible for this pure fraud the company that look after ours is called scan lands or as we call them on our estate is scam lands.

  222. HornetHornet

    Hi Majid,
    Yes there is a way, sell your home. That’s the only way. To own a house on your estate must mean you pay those fees. Like a netflix subscription. If you dont watch some shows, doesn’t mean you pay less. If you own that house, you pay those fee’s. Only way to not pay, is sell your home…thats the legally binding contract you signed. If you do not pay, you will be sued…Sorry, but that is the harsh truth. That’s why you should never buy a house with fee’s or shared anything EG shared drive etc.

  223. SimonSimon

    Majid,
    The simple answer is no, you have agreed to pay this service charge when you purchased the property, like any legal document you have a financial commitment which has to be met as long as you own the house. Sorry it is not what you (and the neighbours) want to hear but that is the straight forward truth of it.

  224. MajidMajid

    Hi,
    I have a freehold house on a mixed (flat/house) development of 40 properties.

    I brought a property 10 years ago and I’m been paying service charge (£200 a year).

    Is they way I can stop paying this service charge? It doesn’t benefit me and we can’t use the space or parking

  225. MajidMajid

    Hi, I have a property which is freehold and is manage by a limited company. I have no use for space which they charging me and have no easy access to this space.

    How can I not pay for this service charge, I spoken with all of the freehold property owner and they want same thing.

    We have 6 Properties and 40 flats which pay this service charge

  226. HornetHornet

    @ Helen… Simon has answered quite well…but just to add to that, you also asked why should you have to contribute to some brook as you only moved in less than 2 years ago… well firstly, unfortunately all properties must pay from time of ownership, that’s the deal… all owners will be paying into a reserve pot… a bit like when you live in a block of flats and contribute to large renovations like the roof doing… if you live in there for 10 years, you dont get your money back if you move out. Likewise, if you move in recently, you are subject to all fees from that moment, its never going to let you pay less just because you lived there for less time.
    Sadly, as Simon has basically said, they can charge whatever they like… and they will. This is why I pulled out of my purchase when I eventually found out about management fees…my own independent solicitor didn’t see a problem with fees, but after interrogating him on hypothetical scenarios he had no choice but to confess that my concerns are actually extremely valid… I urge everyone to never buy a property that has a shared anything…shared drive, ginnel, access, fees, road, etc etc… it is a disaster in the waiting.

  227. SimonSimon

    Helen – As stated on lots of other posts in this forum, your TP1 will hold the answer, although it may be written in such a way that it will be difficult to read easily. I understand you are looking at the ” common land ” that the management company and yourself is responsible for and using common sense to calculate how much it would cost to manage per year and then dividing that between the 28 houses…… Don’t, logic and estate rent charges do not go hand in hand, even if their charges only have a whiff of ‘ maybe ‘ about them, then you will have to pay the demand. The 5 year limit you mention is interesting, what does the TP1 say about what happens after this period ?? I know this is a silly question but here goes……. what did your solicitor say about these charges that you were about to sign on the dotted line for ? Did he or she use the word ” uncapped ”, because they are exactly that, they have to be, anything that happens on the land you and the other 27 houses are responsible for you have to pay. In terms of the council tax conundrum, that is an easy one….. you have to pay both and are not eligible to have a reduction. The council tax is not just for services like road repairs, lighting, litter collection, (they may actually not even have to do this on your estate), it is so the council can keep care homes open, libraries running and so the Police and other emergency services can function. I urge you to obtain a copy of your TP1 and read it again, slowly and with a critical eye on every single word and line, all your responsibilities are written within it, although like most i am confident you were not aware of it at the time of agreeing to be bound by its terms. All the best

  228. HelenHelen

    I live on a small development of 28 houses and our site is managed through a limited company in which all home owners are shareholders however the builder apointed Lambert Smith Hamton to manage the company and site for 5 years. I moved in, in march 2019 and I have paid £250, £285 and £350 for next year. The only open space is a small strip of grass that is 2foot by 60foot on one side of the road. It was mowed 3 times last year at a cost of £40 each. There is a small brook at the edge of the development which now needs one off work however no one knows the full ownership of the river but the management company is collection £5000 from the 28 house to do the work. I moved in less than 2 years ago so why should I pay for this one off work that has not been done for litterally a 100 years? Also they are only clearing a small section that they know is owned by the devlopment so it is a pointless exercise as the development is a tini speck on the rout of this brook. They also charge us over 2.8k a year in fees and then on top for things like postage at £65 even though they send one letter a year depanding money and it arrive 2 weeks past the date. I have emailed them several times asking for account break downs etc and they have replied once. When I looked over their accounts (I am an accountant by trade) I found they had charged us for stuff going back to the 2018 year even though most of us didn’t move in till 2019 and the most shocking thing was there accounting software download was missing £1500 worth of costs which they charged the home owners. I asked where this money had gone and they never responded instead sent me an email depanding payment for next years fees. I contacted the council as our development was once a council tax paying property (brown field site) but they basically told me that I got no services for paying nearly 2k a year in council tax (band E plus parish council etc) Any advice on this?

  229. HornetHornet

    @ Justine… Simon is correct in all he says…You had best seek proper legal advice before trying to mange yourselves to fully understand what you’re signing up for and how you go about doing it. Your TP1 contract will certainly say that you will be charged for a reserve pot for any possible future costs. And you cannot argue it. I used to live in a self managed flat as there were only 5 of us in a converted house. Thankfully 1 lady was kind enough to sort it out, but as Simon says, its a thankless task. There were only 5 of us under the same roof and it was a nightmare sometimes…I couldn’t imagine doing it for 50+ individual homes.

    @John… because its not illegal and also the solicitor’s primary job is to facilitate the sale…any advisories are bonus. I actually queried my own solicitor and came up with my own scenarios, he said although unlikely, its possible…he still wouldn’t advice for or against…and that was a well respected independent solicitor…so i made up my own decision and said no thanks to 100% risk.

    Anything that’s happening to you, is what you agreed to when buying the house. Whether or not you fully understood, is another thing sadly.

    Like Simon says, its a massive injustice and scandal in the waiting.

  230. JohnJohn

    I live on a new estate in a freehold house. The service charge was suppose to be collected by the management company when the build was complete and the land was passed over to the management company.

    Out of the blue the developers have used a totally different management agent to start collecting money from all the residents that is double the estimates. The one director is a director of the building company .
    We are being charged by a totally different company who is suppose to be acting for the management company yet the contract states we pay the management company.
    The Management company isn’t even trading and is dormant.

    How can they do this and how can solicitors who are suppose to check all this out before you exchange not picking up on this?
    We are being asked to pay for maintenance and management of Land that is owned by the development not the management company. How is this even possible . ???

  231. SimonSimon

    Hi Justine,
    Due to the house being freehold your options to challenge any demands for payment are non existent, If it were Leasehold you would have some redress. In terms of setting up a residents management committee, yes it is possible but its a long slog to achieve and think about what you will have to do when ” you are in charge ”, do you really want to spend your evenings and weekends arranging tradespeople to attend/quote/fix the jobs, chase them up when they do not turn up, deal with unhappy home owners who have issues, send out invoices to all owners, chase late payments, deal with arrears and possibly go to court, produce audited accounts, arrange 3rd party liability insurance……. really ! This is why the best people to deal with all this are the council, and why the newer model of private estates is a time-bomb waiting to go off. Think very carefully about taking that responsibility on, you and others will also have to become directors of the newly formed management company….. that has lots of serious legislative responsibilities. Speak to a solicitor about this before you do anything. I have experience of this and it is time draining and a thankless task, your free time is precious, do not waste it. All the best.

  232. JustineJustine

    Hi – I live in a freehold property and the land is owned by Redrow who are still on the estate however I’m paying a yearly fee to RMG living with no reason as to what the money is being spent on. We are even being charged for a playground which isn’t in place yet. I have heard that the home owners can form their own management company but I’m not sure if this is correct?

  233. HornetHornet

    @ Simon, good point with the affordable housing. Makes sense.

  234. HornetHornet

    Hi Laura, yes normally they do charge the entire estate, so not sure why some are exempt, but obviously those houses are extremely more attractive & fortunate than yours for not having this 3rd party burden…and I can totally see why you would feel mis-sold but unfortunately, anything said to you verbally by the sales person is worthless and means nothing. Their job is to sell, and nothing they say is actually enforceable unless its written down in either the contract or the TP1… and unfortunately they are not at liberty to tell you what deal other houses have.

  235. SimonSimon

    Laura – I can only assume that the houses you mention which exit onto the council adopted roads are housing association or affordable housing ? If so then to my knowledge you are right they do not pay the service charges, if they did then in effect the council/tax payer would pay as the majority of these properties are likely to be paid for by universal credit/housing benefit etc. This would cause all manner of issues if that were to happen.

    The section in which you mention no invoices were sent out by the management company, i am a little confused about, there have been cases where freeholders have not received an invoice for the grass cutting etc and simply not queried it, this is a mistake, they are still liable for it I would find out exactly why they are not paying it, is it due to non receipt of a demand for payment or because they are exempt due to being a housing association property etc. It is a very important difference.

  236. LauraLaura

    Hi,when I purchased my property I was told the whole development would also be paying which made me feel that the development would be more loved so to speak by its residents which to an extent is.the problem is that about 30 properties who exit onto the council adopted road which runs through the middle of the development does not pay a penny piece towards service charges.this was never told to many buyers and many found out they didn’t have to pay by just not ever receiving a bill from the management company.surely I have been miss sold or at the very least been sold a property under a false pretence? If given this information before purchasing I would have certainly thought a lot more about the house I purchased

  237. HornetHornet

    Hi Tesh…Hope you will help spread the word too. Sadly the conveyancers job is really to just make the sale happen legally, not to give you personal advice it seems. Which is exactly why you should never ever use a developers recommended solicitors (this should absolutely be made illegal in my opinion) . And unfortunately the problem is that there is nothing illegal sadly, and it will remain this way as long as there is no huge public outcry and there’s money to be made. I dont understand how so many people are so easily convinced that it is an OK situation to be in?…. for example paying circa 500k for a house, and then be subject to uncapped & unregulated annual fees for as long as you own the property, and still have to ask for permission to change a fence, park a certain vehicle in your own drive or pay for a seller pack when trying to sell your house?… good luck to you. please do keep this site updated if you can.

  238. TeshTesh

    you need to tell people not to buy any property from new new developers until the terms and conditions state there are no management charges purchasers solicitors must be more vigilant and a message to be sent to the law society to tell all solicitors when engaged in conveyancing of freehold properties they must advise their client and they need to respond to the sellers that their clients will not purchase due to management charges on their freehold purchase. Solicitors must insist on reviewing all the contracts and all parties must sign in each other presence signing of blank documents must not be permitted. Once the T&C are fully understood. Then no more post contacts are to be signed, this is what has happened in my purchase and my intention to sue for negligence, also sue the developer under MRA 1967.

  239. SimonSimon

    Chris – Sorry to say but probably nothing, you would have signed a deed when you purchased your house agreeing to this arrangement, and as you have found out the costs are ” fluid ”, Have you contacted the management company and queried why they are doing so little work ? The protection for freeholders in regards challenging maintenance charges is non existent (at the moment) , only leaseholders have legislation that can be used if excessive charges are levied. I would expect the costs on an estate of 12 years to go up though, the roads, pumping station (if it has one), ponds etc would need more upkeep as they get older. The bottom line is that you agreed to this all those years ago and i do feel you have limited options to get out of this other than to sell (drastic i know) and hope any new potential buyer does not see the issue, the more this becomes common knowledge the harder it will be to sell such properties.

  240. chris cinigliochris ciniglio

    i purchased a freehold property in a development of freehold houses and leasehold flats 12 years ago, we have a maintenance company that is in charge of maintaining the flats and out door spaces, the cost at the beginning was nominal for freeholders, but now we seem to be paying 3 times the amount for little to no services, as a freeholder that maintains our own property and grounds what can we do to get rid of this management company.

  241. SimonSimon

    Sarah – Another new one for me i am afraid, if you are purchasing one of the 10 houses which originally was subject to this management company then i assume that if someone else came along they too would be in the same situation as you are ? Can you find out who this neighbour is and your solicitor write to them to request they sort this debacle out……. even though there are no monies going to this charitable neighbour for the ongoing maintenance of the pumping station, are they charging for any ” fees ” to issue permission etc, if so then this sounds very dodgy indeed, given they have nothing to offer or any services to perform for you, or other buyers (other than issuing a piece of paper). This really is something for your solicitor to sort out, it is very unique and highlights how unknown buying a property on a private estate really is, there are all manner of ways a 3rd party can make money from the unwary. I smell a rat here i am afraid and would be looking at this neighbours motives for not winding up this ostensibly dormant company. All the best.
    N.B Also check on companies house their latest filed accounts….. may be interesting.

  242. Sarah JonesSarah Jones

    Hi, reading through these posts my mind is blown. i’m currently going through a transaction which involves a management company that was initially established to maintain a sewage pumping station shared by 10 houses. the pumping station has since been adopted by Thames water so the management company is now longer collecting fees performing any activities but it hasn’t been wound down properly at companies house (still active) and the title at the land registry still have covantents in favour of the management company and require management company approval for my purchase transaction. the company is been run by one of the neighbours on a voluntary basis. has any had experience of this situation? My conveyancer has mentioned a deed of release would be required to update the land registry, has anyone had experience of that? And also the cost as i expect the home owner would be required to cover this if the management company is not collecting service charges/performing activities.

  243. HornetHornet

    @ Carol Wright — November 2

    Sorry to hear that Carol. As Simon says, you cannot get out of it. The house is tied to those open areas and the fee’s forever. Its the contract you agreed to when buying the house.

    You can try complain about the management company and complain direct to them too. Ensure you take photos and keep all correspondence. Just keep pestering them, everyday via phone AND email.

    Whatever you do though, do NOT stop paying, as they can take you to court for that.

    Sadly, any private roads on your estate is likely to come under your fee’s to be honest…as suggested by Simon, please get a copy of your deeds and specifically the TP1 which is the contract that binds the house to any T&C’s (ie the management fees etc).

    Many contracts also stipulate that open areas can change, so what you saw in the beginning may easily change at their discretion later. IE you may not have signed up for the private roads initially to pay for, but if the were built at a later phase, it can become part of your responsibility then…so just saying to look out for this also.

    Simon is correct that the issue has been presented to parliament, but only recently, so don’t expect anything will happen soon, if ever.

    Please keep us updated on here if possible.

    Good luck.

  244. SimonSimon

    Carol – Sorry to say but no, you cannot get out of it, even if they (in your opinion) do nothing…… there is a caveat though, this really only applies to freehold houses as the legislation which allows you redress this issue is aimed at leasehold properties only. The protection for non delivery of works was aimed at leasehold, it was never envisaged that a freehold house would be subject to charges for the maintenance of roads/grassed areas/play areas etc. I think the govt are looking at this now but do not expect anything to change soon. In regards the two private roads….. i refer to my comments to Lyn, get a copy of your TP1, It is what you agreed to pay for when you purchased the house, i suspect what they are charging you for will be allowable as per the contract, it often is but tied up in language you may not understand at first. All the best.

  245. Carol WrightCarol Wright

    Can you get out of a management contract? Escalating charges and no work being done. Also believe we are funding two private roads on the development is this right?

  246. SimonSimon

    Lyn – That is impossible to determine on a forum without sight of the specific covenants in the TP1 you would have signed, they are all different with some imposing lots of very restrictive rules, you need to get a copy of what you signed and have a very close read. The majority of the covenants cover what is done outside of the property (front doors/garden walls/extensions etc), but to be sure get your TP1. All the best.

  247. Lyn DoorbarLyn Doorbar

    Do housing maintenance management have a say in what you wish to install in your property such as a lift for parents as they are requiring some help

  248. HornetHornet

    @ Michael Longmire — November 16

    Because your property is intrinsically inextricably intertwined with a 3rd party entitiy….ie the managed open areas, which must have a management agent.

    Owners are also required to be members and directors of the open spaces.

    You cant own a property on your estate without being part of it. This is why you have to pay a management company to deal with TP1 etc when selling your home…because they are part of your obligations as a result of buying a property on your estate.

    They will set fees and you must pay them or be taken to court.

    When you bought the property, this is what you agreed to and signed the contracts.

  249. Michael LongmireMichael Longmire

    why do we have to pay a management company to deal with TP1 when selling our house?

  250. Cllr Chris J M HorsmanCllr Chris J M Horsman

    Please put me on newsletter mailing
    We are negotiating to take over the management company and then we will fire the property management company they delegated the invoice issuing and bullying tactics t it’s a scandals of epic proportions.

  251. HornetHornet

    @ Danni — November 14,

    Yeh thats a new one for me also!

    So what does your red line boundary plan show?… no disrespect but why would anyone buy into such an arrangement? Was it super cheap or something?

    Google ‘ARMA’ and maybe they can either help or help direct you to somewhere that can.

    Please keep us updated.

  252. HornetHornet

    @ Danni — November 14,

    Crikey, that’s a new one !!!

    So when you bought the place, what did your red line boundary plan show you?…literally just around your house?…so you dont have any ownership of your driveway and your gardens?

    I understand you want to get some info before committing to paying any solicitors, but that might be the only option…HOWEVER, you may be able to claim the fees of solicitors if you have any legal fee insurance tagged in with your home insurance. But be prepared to pay a few grand out in legal fees otherwise.

    Is your garden actually a leasehold?…or is it that you just have to pay a service fee?… if its a formal leasehold, what does the lease say? how long does your lease last for?…and what happens when the lease expires?!

    If you are tied up with a management fee, you should be able to make formal complaints to an independent ombudsman scheme about inadequate works (although I don’t know how)

    You can try these websites…

    https://www.tpos.co.uk/
    &
    https://arma.org.uk/

    If they cant help directly, they may at least provide further clues as to where you can go next.

    Good luck.

    Please keep us updated.

  253. SimonSimon

    Hi Danni,
    Well your situation is a new one on me, i have never heard of the land your building sits on being different to your garden in terms of its tenure !! The description you give says its a house but it reads like a flat or shared building……. is this a standard house that most of us would understand ? If so, then Yes you do need to purchase the freehold for your gardens, i honestly can see this having an effect on the sale of your properties if it stays as it is now, i would not purchase a house with the arrangement you and the others currently have. There are many articles on the web explaining what you need to do to force the sale of the freehold to yourselves or at least to be able to manage it yourself, but you really need to own the land that surrounds your house, who thought of that one ! The public communal areas will still need to be paid for but i guess that is what you signed up for. I cannot say how successful you will be with this as this arrangement is totally new to me, but keeping your front and back gardens owned by someone else is a recipe for future financial disaster. There (of course) are property solicitors who can advise you all on this, i would get together with the others and work out a plan of how you will go about this, its a total millstone around all your necks and its critical you take ownership of it. All the best.

  254. DanniDanni

    Hi

    I live in a freehold house, the freehold extends only to the walls of the house. All outdoor areas are leasehold including the road, parking and back and front gardens.

    When we purchased the house we were told that the gardens were to be maintained by the service charge company. The back garden in particular is the area causing us issues. The garden is fully enclosed and attached the back of our properties. Only the four leaseholders and the maintenance guys have access to it. We have been here for a almost a year and half now and we have had so many problems with the garden and despite our constant complaints to Barratts nothing has been done to fix these issues.

    Problems include broken fence panels, uneven and wobbly paving slabs, gates that won’t lock properly, dead patches of grass, overgrown areas of grass, over grown weeds and mushrooms. We are having to de weed the garden and lay grass seed ouselves, which wouldn’t be much of an issue if weren’t paying someone else to be handling this for us and especially given that it is in our contracts.

    Although these problems are annoying, they are not very serious. What concerns me the most is the fact that the ground was never leveled or evened out when the turf was laid which has resulted in craters in the earth underneath the grass. The turf also doesn’t quite reach the outer fences and walls which means we have ditches surrounding the garden. There have been several occasions where I have caught my foot in one of the craters or ditches and ended up on the floor. Although no lasting damage has been done it’s only a matter of time before someone breaks their ankle.

    We have made several complaints and requests for the garden to be sorted out but so far nothing has been done. All four leaseholders have expressed that they are unhappy with the service we have been provided and we feel that we have been taken advantage of by a large company. We feel helpless to do anything and are unsure on what we can do.

    As Barratts are in breach of their contract do we have grounds to take them to court or start legal proceedings? Where would we begin and how would we go about this? Are you able to give us any pointers please or reccommend a legal representative? The ideal outcome would be that the garden is signed over to us so that we can fix these issues ourselves, we would even be open to purchasing the garden, but again we wouldn’t know how to approach this, if it’s even an option.

    Due to the unusual set up of freehold house but leasehold garden we are struggling to find any concrete guidance online.

    Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you in advance.

  255. HornetHornet

    @ Ethan — November 9

    You’ve made a good decision.
    Also you’ve made a really great point there that many overlook.

    These open areas are NOT fixed… it will state in the TP1 that they can change in size and location at any point.

    Buying on a developing site is very dangerous as you said. If there is a phase 2 etc, then it will certainly encompass more fee’s once that has been finished. And there’s no real way to know what they might be (unless you get inside info) but even then it could be wrong. If it turns out to be a playground with slides and swings or a substation/pump room, then it would be catastrophic for the freeholders…the fees could be astronomical for something like that.

    I’ve even heard of management agents attempting to enforce private parking restrictions!!!

  256. HornetHornet

    @ Ellis Hawtin — November 10

    What you describe is actually one of the many reasons I pulled out of a house purchase. It didn’t feel right.

    There is no way for you to remove yourselves as a company director…its part of the contract you signed.

    As part of the house purchase, it is very likely that you would’ve signed a contract (whether or not you saw this, is a different matter).

    This is separate from any TP1, its a separate contract agreement when buying the house… a “contract of sale”

    Amongst many other things, imbedded in the contract will be something along the lines of this….

    * You the buyer agree to become a member of the Residents Company on the date of completion of the property.

    * Prior to the date fixed for legal completion the buyer shall provide the seller with a signed but undated Companies House application form confirming the buyer’s consent to be appointed as a director of the residents company.

    * If requested by the seller or by any managing agent appointed to act on behalf of the Residents Company, the Buyer shall become a director of the Residents Company.

    Now, just to be clear…you may not have actually seen these. You may have just signed something to say “yup its all ok” but not actually seen any of it and just signed a front page.

    As Simon has pointed out, there are certain responsibilities as a company director…what, I do not know. I assume everyone on your estate would’ve got the same letter and you’re all directors now. It might not be a bad thing, as it may mean you can now appoint a management agent yourselves?…But sorry, I really dont know the ins & outs of that process. It might be worth asking the developer what’s going on and/or waiting a little bit to see if a management agent will be put in place soon anyway. Normally, they have a company in mind before leaving the site.

    This sort of hassle is the sort of thing I could do without though, I don’t have the patience or stamina for it.

    Wonder why your neighbour is moving on so fast after buying a their new home?

    Good luck.

  257. SimonSimon

    Ellis – You really do need to speak with a solicitor, i have never heard of what you describe, as a director of a Ltd company you have a number of legal responsibilities, these are not to be taken lightly so becoming a director without your knowledge and against your will is incredible. The ideal situation is having the local authority take ownership of an estate but if that is not possible then a resident owned option is 2nd best…… but you have to be willing to take this on, not be duped into it !!!! Someone has submitted your details to companies house for this to take place, your solicitor should be able to find out who. Very odd indeed. Good luck.

  258. Ellis HawtinEllis Hawtin

    Hello, I wonder if anyone can offer some advice..
    we bought our new build home April 2019 which had a service management fee. we expected to pay the amount £150 per year to ‘said management company’ which was paid when the completion of our house went through. To this date we havent made another payment and have had no clue as to who the company is. Turns out the first people to up and sell their house is our neighbour who advised they have had delays in exchange due to there being not trace of said company. I done some digging and found the company registered on companies house with the developer still named as director.. 2 days after speaking to our neighbour we have now received a letter in the post stating we have now been appointed as directors of the management company by our developments solicitors. we have not seen any legal paperwork to say we have signed up to this. Is there a way we can be taken off as directors?

  259. EthanEthan

    Thanks Simon. Something just didn’t feel right, and then after doing just a little research it confirmed my fears. Funny you mention pumping station, there was talk of some massive underground rainwater tanks. I mean this could cost loads of money if it ever needs changing in future. What’s iffy also is that they’re still developing. There will be a phase-2, so any managed open area’s could be anything in that proposed phase and it’ll all be included in the fee’s signed up for by those duped into buying phase1 homes. Well dodgy if you’re buying those homes. You might be alright for a few years then WHAM!
    There’s also a public footpath which will certainly need re-tarmacking in the future. The houses are actually really nice, and so is the cul-de-sac in general with all big houses. But it is really expensive compared to all the existing homes surrounding it. I dont get why/how anyone willing to spend this kind of money just blindly jump into these things. It’s sad really. Boggles the mind!

  260. SimonSimon

    Ethan – Well done ! A good decision to pull out, you are totally correct in terms of the fees being uncapped…… they simply have to be given that the future costs are unknown by all parties !! Who would sign up for possible unlimited payments, indefinitely . I am waiting for the first pumping station to need replacing, that will make the freeholders eyes water !

  261. EthanEthan

    Stonebridge homes in Harrogate, Kingsley Farm development have some nice properties. The nice salesman only very nonchalantly mentioned that there’s a management fee but assured verbally that it only goes up by rate of inflation. Obviously this was total nonsense and subsequently we pulled out. These service fee’s are never capped. Buyer beware. They were really expensive too so we would’ve been shafted from both ends.

  262. HornetHornet

    @ K Fossett — November 7, 2020

    Are you the buyer or the seller?

    To answer your question…In my limited understanding….the management company has absolutely ZERO concern or obligation to the house owners.

    IF they agree to change the wording, they will charge the homeowner for this (circa £500 probably). If they don’t agree, then there’s nothing you can do about it.

    You’ll just have to keep calling and trying I guess and hopefully one day you’ll get a answer you want to hear.

    Good luck.

  263. HornetHornet

    @ Val — November 6,

    I am so pleased to hear you will be checking every word.

    I suspect though, the fact you are here researching things, I believe that deep down, you’re probably prepared to walk away now.

    And if you’re having these thoughts, you can bet you’ll also have a hard time selling later.

    Please let us know on here what happens, regardless of what decision you make, as it means many others can learn if we keep the conversation going.

    Good luck.

  264. HornetHornet

    @ Simon — November 2,

    Hi Simon,
    Glad to see someone active on here also.

    Agreed, sounds like Val has had a decent solicitor to point this pitfall out.

    Would still like to say though that should never be a reason not to read through YOURSELF every single bit of all the contracts. Don’t just leave everything to the solicitor. Just my 2 cents.

    Those were exactly my thoughts… sinkhole / fly tipping. Unlikely but wholly possible.

  265. SimonSimon

    K.Fossett – I would suggest you speak with a specialist in this area. The management company can refuse to mitigate this clause, it was agreed and signed for when the house was first purchased. This clause is the ultimate protection for the management company if you or future owners refuse to pay the fees they levy…… which is why the lender does not want to grant a mortgage on it, THEIR asset will be taken and their security will cease to be, no lender in their right mind would agree to lend on that basis. This issue will get bigger in the future and in a similar vain to the current cladding issue could make a number of properties unsalable. This clause is a huge issue for any seller with it in their TP1. I am unsure if this will be looked at by the govt in the future but if it is then it will be years ahead, no assistance to you now. I do feel for you but unless the management company will move on this i see no way out of it.

  266. HornetHornet

    @ John Morris — November 5

    Hi John,
    I’m not an expert because I walked away from any house with management fee’s.

    But I’d just like to share my thoughts with you.

    One of my concerns at the time was the requirement to become a director & member…. what I dont know…and what you should probably ascertain is this… in my pessimistic world, I think this all means you are legally liable for this land, but dont own it.

    What if there is an accident on this land… someone may try to sue the directors of the land (aka you)

    I might be wrong, but just check… I’d be interested to see what liabilities you have. Also, you are a director of a company, which means there are probably certain obligations associated with that also…so again, just check what your duties are and perform them!

    All this stuff just put me off. I’ll be the first to admit I am too lazy and scared to be involved with this stuff, hence I walked away.

    I take it you’ve not been paying any management fee then?… maybe that’s a good thing?… I don’t know!!!

  267. HornetHornet

    @ Comment by Val — November 2

    This type of property you mention is EXTREMLEY dangerous, and personally, could never recommend anyone to get, unless its like for £20!

    What you’re referring to is a “rent charge” and under no circumstance should you ever buy a property with this sort of wording.

    This little snippet is from a legal firm website… you’ll find similar just by googling the term ‘rent charge risk’ yourself…

    “There are great risks to homeowners and their lenders if the homeowners fail to make payment of the rentcharge on time. Section 121 of the Law of Property Act 1925 (“LPA 1925”) implies two notable remedies into the rentcharge instrument (unless they are expressly excluded) for recovering monies owed to the Rent Owner.

    1. a right to enter into possession of and hold the Charged Land or any part thereof, and take the income from the Charged Land (section 121(3) LPA 1925).

    Unlike forfeiture proceedings against a leaseholder following a breach of a lease (under section 146 LPA 1925), there is no requirement for the Rent Owner to serve any notice to the homeowner giving them a reasonable period of time to remedy the breach, nor is there a right for the homeowner to apply to the courts for relief.

    2. a right to demise the Charged Land or any part thereof to a trustee by deed for a term of years (a lease) (under section 121(4) LPA 1925).

    This effectively means that if the rentcharge goes unpaid for 40 days, the Rent Owner may grant a lease of the Charged Land to a trustee. Again, there is no need for any legal demand to have been made or notice to be given, and the lease can be promptly registered at the Land Registry. This can allow the trustee to effectively ‘ransom’ the Charged Land and exclude the homeowner of their home.”

    If you can change the wording, then great, but there will be a fee to pay.

    Are you still happy to pay the unknown and uncapped fees though?

    In my limited experience, developers are often unwilling to re-word TP1’s etc because there will deffo be someone who is naive enough to buy if you don’t follow through.

    In hindsight, I think this is what a previous poster was talking about sadly…”Comment by Kevin Fletcher — October 26, 2020 @ 8:33 pm” further down below, who said they have had potential buyers pull out because of this clause now (effectively an unsalable house)

    If this is a brand new home, its easier for the developer to change the wording. If its anything after, it is possible that TP1 cannot ever be changed again (or at least no requirement for anyone to do so) as it’s not in anyone’s interest and the homeowner actually cannot change anything on his own TP1 / covenant deeds.

    In summary, just walk away if you haven’t exchanged contracts yet.

  268. K FossettK Fossett

    Hi All, we are selling and have the same issue as Val, our buyers mortgage company has refused indemnity insurance to cover it and the management company’s solicitor is refusing the buyers solicitor’s request to have a deed of covenant put in to protect all future buyers from the clause of having the house taken. Has anyone had this resolved? How can the management company refuse this as they are making our home unsellable with this. Advice please

  269. ValVal

    Thank you for your helpful response @Simon – we’re still waiting to hear back from the sellers’ solicitors… such a minefield 🙁 I really feel for everyone who is stuck with these terms without ever realising what they were signing up to. I’m glad we have a good solicitor, but even so, thanks to the advice on this page my husband and I will be checking and rechecking every word of every document!

  270. John MorrisJohn Morris

    Three years ago we bought the last of 8 houses on a development. We all had to sign up to a management company set up by the developers. There has still been no hand over and we residents have been unable to find any organisation to run the management company on our behalf. In the meantime there is no insurance in place and nothing has been done in the way of drain clearing, tree surveys, etc. Any ideas? We are in Derby.

  271. SimonSimon

    Hi Val,
    Welcome….. for a start you have a good solicitor, you’re lucky as a lot have not and are now in real trouble. The clause you speak about is one i have heard of and you are correct in your fears, lenders are refusing to give mortgages with that clause in which could render the property of zero value in the future. I cannot answer if it can be varied only the developer can answer that. I would also consider very carefully if this is for you, did your solicitor look into the costs themselves ? They are often unlimited, which could mean future buyers may also not be too keen to buy it from you. A lot of the costs have no cap on them, they are often unlimited as future costs on your private land will be impossible to quantify, how will you know if a sink hole develops …….. a large fly tipping incident….. answer – You cannot, so the costs are not able to be set. Think very hard on this and speak with your solicitor again. Good luck.

  272. ValVal

    So glad I found this great site – this whole area really seems like such a scandal. My solicitor has pointed out the danger in these estate service charges for a freehold house we are (?) about to purchase. I can live with the covenants on what you can and cannot do to your property, personally, as I’ve gone through these carefully. What I can;t live with, however, is the knowledge that if we accidentally miss one payment on this service charge, the management company can step in and take control of our house! Without even issuing a formal notice?? Now, I read that in practice this is very rare but still, come on… the solicitor’s solution is to ask the sellers to do a variation of deed to remove clause 122 (which as I understand it – perhaps not correctly yet- means the company can pursue the debt through ‘normal’ means but have no right to seize the property or convert it to a lease). Has anyone experience of asking this and it being done? Surely as more people are made aware of this -potentially huge- risk, and lenders refuse to mortgage without this, either a) more and more sellers will do the VoD OR b) these people’s houses will just not sell, unless buyers overlook the pitfalls… Anyway, it would be good to know if anyone has managed to circumvent at least this part of the danger through this route, or if it’s a dead-end. Thanks

  273. HornetHornet

    @ Terri Jackson — October 29, 2020
    This is just my understanding, but…I don’t think you don’t own any share in the managed land, nor do you have any rights over it. The developer can do what they like, and that’s what you’ve signed up for.
    Maybe they’re still deciding on the management company to appoint? or still deciding on what lands to charge you for as open areas?
    Good luck.
    I’ve heard of some circumstances where the developer hasn’t charged management fees for many years, so maybe you’ll get lucky 🙂

  274. HornetHornet

    @ kevin — October 29, 2020
    That’s great to hear your success at fighting your corner. If you have the energy, spare time, patience and money to fight it, then brilliant because you’re representing the little guy.
    Personally its deffo not for me, I just simply could not be bothered with such fights and wouldn’t want that hanging over my head in my own home and its just sad this sort of Americanised type of housing is creeping into the UK.
    Personally, I would give such housing arrangements a wide berth to begin with. Its not so much about growing a pair, its more to do with it could happen every year. Next year, they might just increase the bill to cover any legal costs incurred by your complaining, then you’ll be forced to pay.

  275. Terri JacksonTerri Jackson

    I purchased a Charles Church house 3 years ago ( persimmons) ,the last house was completed 2.5 years ago and we are still waiting for the developer to complete a list of items ( drains , bad tarmac etc. ) before we are prepared to handover the estate to the Management Company .We are in discussions with the MD of Persimmons but there is no urgency to finish the items and handover. We don’t understand the reluctance as they are incurring the costs of landscaping etc but us home owners just want to get on and manage our own development. How can we force them to finish?

  276. kevinkevin

    i successfully on places for people and RMG and won on both occassions one being through the ombudsman where my guttering hadnt been cleaned after eleven years. i refused to pay my monthly charge and was awarded £200 for work that hadnt been done…you just need to grow a pair and take these clowns on.

  277. SimonSimon

    Kevin – As stated by Hornet, it could well be something in your TP1, when you originally purchased the house you would of signed this document. I assume your house is Freehold ? Who has mentioned to you ” Clause 122 ”…… does your estate agent not know given it may have been they who told you the bad news ? Like Hornet i pulled out of the purchase of a new build house which was Leasehold with estate rent ! I dodged that one, but if you have no luck yourself with this then consult a solicitor and get them to look over what you have signed, it will be a clause which ties the new owners into uncapped payments of some sort or an increasing payment, both of which would make a poor financial decision for any future buyer. This is the tip of the iceberg going forward with the public becoming more aware of the pitfalls of new build houses.

  278. HornetHornet

    @ Kevin Fletcher — October 26, 2020

    Hi Kevin,

    If its something in your TP1 then I really don’t know. Can you go back to the management company to try reword it for a fee? Sorry but I’m not an expert really.

    What exactly is the problem?… I don’t know what clause 122 is. Can you put the clause here word for word so we can see?

    I am sorry, but this is the problem!…these types of freehold homes with estate fees / management service fees are extremely off putting for many.

    Well for me certainly, I pulled out of my purchase even though it meant I lost about £5k in legal fees and deposits to the developer.

    You may have to make your house price more desirable or keep hoping a buyer will come along who doesn’t think its a problem or really spruce it up.

    Sorry cant really help, but good luck, but there’s still a part of me that will warn people off buying any ‘freehold’ home with a management fee.

    Its a tough one.

  279. Kevin FletcherKevin Fletcher

    I live on the beechwood development in Barming kent I’ve had 2 buyers pull out due to this clause 122 what do I do ??

  280. HornetHornet

    @ Peter Cartwright — October 23, 2020

    I’m just a concerned citizen that’s recently discovered all this nasty business about fleecehold and wanted to join the fight against developers.

    Need to spread the news, continue the conversation, and hit them where it hurts by not buying anymore of these types of houses…especially the newly built ones yet to be sold by the developer.

    Don’t buy!! …they’re destroying our lives slowly. Its like your house will be on subscription forever!

    If you wish, Peter Cartwright, we can talk openly on here, so people can learn more.

  281. HornetHornet

    @ Peter Cartwright — October 23, 2020

    I’m just a concerned citizen that’s recently discovered all this nasty business about fleecehold and wanted to join the fight against developers.

    Need to spread the news, continue the conversation, and hit them where it hurts by not buying anymore of these types of houses…especially the newly built ones yet to be sold by the developer.

    Don’t buy!! …they’re destroying our lives slowly. Its like your house will be on subscription forever!

    If you wish, Peter Cartwright, we can talk openly on here, so people can learn more.

  282. Peter CartwrightPeter Cartwright

    Have you got any details of how I can get in touch with Hornet? I cannot find anything on a normal search.

  283. HornetHornet

    @ Samuel Kompfner — October 14, 2020
    @ Simon — October 14, 2020 @ 9:39 pm

    Absolutely correct Simon… why on earth would you want to do that? I’m buying a house…a sanctuary away from everyday stress!
    £x00,000 and still annual unknown unregulated cost?…. this is NOT ok.

    I have lived in a flat before (converted large home)… it was small and self managed, only about 5 of us in total. You have to have AGM’s, send things out for tender, collect payment etc. It was a hassle just 5 of us in the same building, but just about bearable. And 1 lady was extremely kind enough to take charge of it all. Do you really think you want to do that in a home on an estate with 10’s or 100’s of homes… going round the neighbourhood and collecting fees, arranging insurances, AGMs, companies house obligations, accountancy etc etc. Who’s going to take charge and organise everyone?

    And what happens when people move out and there are awkward neighbours? So many unpredictable unknowns.

    Also what makes you think you are allowed to just take up the management? Never forget you DO NOT own the land you are paying for to be managed. You have no right to manage it really, so it might not be a thing for you. Your developer will own that land forever, and you pay for them to do that.

    @ Samuel Kompfne…. And never ever forget to check what the responsibilities are…but also know that since you’ve already said that you live in a development that is still ongoing, that the managed areas have every chance that it will increase/change in size and location….read the TP1… it will state that!… that’s right.. what you signed up for on the day, may not be the case 5 years later…. they can change. If there is another phase, it might include a playground that’s not on the plans you saw. Those costs can be anything… what if there is a sub station or attenuation tank residents must pay for the upkeep and maintenance for because it sits on managed land? Sometimes the developer will absorb some of the cost whilst on site… but once they’ve gone… it will ALL be dumped back onto the residents.

    And don’t forget, even if you CAN self manage, you will have to figure out how to do it… go round knocking on all your neighbours doors. Try to convince them to self manage (many will be put off) and go through all the legal procedure of doing it.

    If you want to appoint a new management company, you will have to go round knocking on doors and convince people to go through it all.

    Again, assuming you have the right to do this. Management companies are NOT there to please the residents. This is a legal fact. Their only legal obligation is towards the land owners…NOT the house owners.. the land owners are either themselves or the developers forever more.

    After going through it all myself and thankfully pulling out before exchanging contracts, i know what these TP1’s will say… i took 2 full days to read through cover to cover EVERYTHING… even my solicitor (local well respected independent) did not highlight it to me… i raised my concerns and he said “they are extremely valid” but went on to try and say its ‘normal’… just because its legal… like payday loans are ‘normal’ and legal… will you get those aswell?… its really bad !!!

  284. HornetHornet

    @Simon (October 12, 2020 @ 6:54 pm)

    Thankyou. All my advice is from personal experience from discovering a property I was interested in was like this. Luckily I had the sense to pull out. It meant I lost thousands in legal fees… call it about £4-5k in total… but I would 100% choose to lose this amount of money and treat it as an expensive lesson learnt than to commit to hundreds of thousands on a property that would have an unknown fee attached. I couldn’t live like that in my own home.

    The media coverage is plentiful in the last 12ish month BBC. I think some banks have already said they wont mortgage such a property.

  285. HornetHornet

    @Simon (October 12, 2020 @ 6:54 pm)

    Thankyou. All my advice is from personal experience from discovering a property I was interested in was like this. Luckily I had the sense to pull out. It meant I lost thousands in legal fees… call it about £4-5k in total… but I would 100% choose to lose this amount of money and treat it as an expensive lesson learnt than to commit to hundreds of thousands on a property that would have an unknown fee attached. I couldn’t live like that in my own home.

    The media coverage is plentiful in the last 12ish month BBC. I think some banks have already said they wont mortgage such a property.

  286. SimonSimon

    I cannot of course answer for Hornet – But for myself the question should be….. why would you want too ? I and my friends lead very busy lives, i have interests and hobbies other than rounding up hundreds of other home owners to agree on grass cutting, tree lopping, litter clearance, chase late or bad debts and all manner of other nonsense that for my house the council perform as part of my council tax payment ( my home is true freehold). On paper i can see how it would seem a minor admin function, i assure you it will not be, it will be a total pain and more time consuming than you think. I do agree that in a world of bad choices it would be the least worst option, the ideal is to simply have the new estates yet to be built adopted by the local authorities from the get go……. a pipe dream it appears and not likely to happen whilst this income stream remains so attractive for the developer.

  287. Samuel KompfnerSamuel Kompfner

    @ Hornet – why the negativity over taking over the management company? Why on earth should some 3rd-party company, probably feeding profits from “outsourced” maintenance contractors straight back into either its own or the developers coffers via some opaque company structure, be the ones who dictate what residents of the estate should pay? I absolutely can’t wait til our development is complete, and we round up as many residents as we can to sit on the board of the mgmt company and throw out the original directors and take over the company! Yes, it still needs to be run and managed correctly, but with correct voting systems in place, it will be for the residents – not the mgmt company – to decide who does and charges what on the estate.

  288. SimonSimon

    All great comments from ” Hornet ”, i would also add that some mortgage lenders are now refusing to lend on properties with uncapped estate rent fees……. The fee cannot be capped given no-one can predict what will need to be paid for in the future, you have all been warned, your property may well be un-mortgagable in the future once this all becomes better known.

  289. HornetHornet

    @Keith…

    basically yeh…but you really need to look at your contract, covenants and TP1 thoroughly, cover to cover, of when you bought the place.

    If the council have not adopted since the site got finished then there is very little chance it will ever become adopted in the future. The only way out of this contact is to sell it on and hope the next buyers are not bothered or unaware of the situation …seemingly selfish, but sometimes you got to look after yourself if you don’t want to be stung.

    Unless the governments step in and change the law to override your contracts, then you are bound by law to fulfil your part of the contract…which, if you look carefully, has a chance that will be worded in a way that leaves it totally open..as in uncapped fee. I doubt very much the government would step in sadly though.

    And depending on the wording, can POSSIBLY result in management companies invoking an old but totally viable LEGAL method of evicting you from your own home and/or taking back the freehold status of the property if you do not pay the fees.

    I really cant stress this enough, but people REALLY need to take a FULL day or two (or how ever many days it takes) to read EVERYTHING cover to cover and interrogate every single paragraph and ask solicitors absolutely EVERYTHING and never to fear being scoffed at or laughed at because it is YOUR money and life on the line here.

    Never ever rely on ANY solicitor solely to look out for these things for you… I know because mine didn’t and it was not the developer solicitor…it was one of the more well known local highly regarded solicitors…I had to ask them my concerns directly myself and bring up my concerns. These things are considered ‘normal’ to many so will not bring up any red flags.

    ASK yourself and demand to see the contracts/covenants/TP1 yourself in its entirety.

    Would you ever buy a car based on a strangers test drive?… course not, so why do people think its ok to just go on the word of a 3rd party on a home that costs £x00,000 !!!!

    Its not the level of service that is the issue really… it’s the fact that it can be ANY cost that you will be liable to pay…. eg there is nothing to ever stop them from handing a annual bill of £10k per household to resurface a path/road…or to re-do a play area etc etc… whatever they see fit to put on the bill you MUST pay. No legal recourse….its even worse for freeholders with fee’s in the covenants…absolutely ZERO protection in many cases.

    Some people spout the nonsense of ‘self management’ as a way of justifying their own position… but who in their right minds would ever want a situation of dealing with that sort of nonsense for their home. You would have to all agree as neighbours… so much hassle and unknowns and then redo all that hassle every time there is a neighbour that moves out.

    Can you imagine having to knock on between 50-500 houses depending on your estate?!?!…. I speak to at most 3 other people on my estate and that’s the neighbours next to me… would you REALLY want to talk to the ENTIRE neighbourhood?…. good luck with that!

  290. keithkeith

    So basically, I am stuffed? If I don’t pay, I get taken to court & if I do pay there is no guarantee of level of service?
    Will the council eventually adopt the estate and then charges will stop?

  291. HornetHornet

    Remeber you can always walk away before signing and exhanging contracts.

    Better to lose a few thousand £’s to legal fees and deposits than commit to a house costing hundreds of thousands. You’re commiting to a lifetime of unknowns. Yes you can sell a home BUT thats assuming you can sell it later down the line and not make a loss.

    Just think… if you have a problem with it how would others feel when they find out? Would they still buy?… You’re not going to have the luxury of having a recommended solicitor thats biased towards you that you can push onto potential buyers (like the developers have)

    Everyone will normalise this situation… Even the solicitor. Normal just means its common place…it doesnt make it right. 

    Never pay attention to what sales person says. Just cut throat snakes. They’ll tell you whatever you want to hear. It means nothing. Their job is to sell…not make you aware of risks.

    The risk is 100% yours and you gotta pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for the privilege of having all this risk.

    You must read the TP1…it will state the fees can be whatever they want…that they have the right to choose any reserve funding and have the final say in what they think is best for you!!!…and even that the open areas can change in size and location. So what you sign upto initially may encompass more later…obviously increasing in fee.

    Dont just solely leave it to your solicitor to advise you…you MUST read the TP1 yourself thoroughly. Google any terms you dont understand. If you’re even the slightest bit unsure then ask your solitcor in plain laymen language and ask for a reply the same way.

    By buying these houses you are legally bound to write them a blank cheque every year for as long as you own the house.

    And the fee will also include ANY cost incurred by management company eg legal fees if there is a dispute with anyone on the estate. So if your neighbour dont pay you will get charged some of the legal fee that the management company incurs whilst fighting it.

    You have no right to dispute or question them either…its part of the house. 

    If you have the slightest concern. Just ask your solicitor or walk away. Be frank with the solicitor…dont pretend to know or come up with your own answers. Ask them everything.

    Dont be pressured by anyone. Its your money. These things take time… Its hundreds of thousands of pounds we’re talking about here… I best most ppl grumple at a few pence increase in petrol prices yet willing to rush a house purchase is just silly.

    I would only buy a house with fees if it stated in the TP1 that fees are capped forever (i doubt any have this) otherwise you’re liable for anything. And you cannot sell the house until its paid up-to-date.

    Developer wont cap fees because that’ll leave them open to risk. So that basically means ALL the risk is yours. After you pay them hundreds of thousands of pounds for the house that is. 

    People will snigger and say its only £150ish a year…INITIALLY… But the fact is it can be whatever they want at any time. Could you live with that? Dont be bullied into anything you dont feel right about. Developers only want your money. The only person that may have your back is your solicitor so only listen to them. But even then thats not a given. Ask them everything…be straight up and never think a question is too silly to ask. If they dont answer then change solicitor or walk away.

    All of the above is from personal experience.

  292. MikeMike

    I live on a shared freehold/leasehold estate, the residents management company has been taken over by leaseholders who have a voting majority and have voted freehold representatives off as company directors. They have filed an un audited financial report for 2019 which contains no information about income received or any detail of expenditure. They ignore requests for access to a breakdown of spending and income. What action can be taken to see what my money was spent on in 2019?

  293. HairstylesHairstyles

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  294. MaxMax

    We are having similar problems now. In the process of selling a Persimmon home. The management fees are £120 per annum which seemed fair until we realised they just outsourse the grass cutting to a company and seem to pocket thousands every year. Also I’ve had to pay the Management company £350 (inc vat) for the priviledge of moving house. All they did was send 3 emails with some attachments, to make it worse they even took 2 weeks slowing down the sale to send the emails!
    It seems like a racket to me. I cant think of any other industry with no oversight where companies can get away with this.

  295. CormacCormac

    Very interesting to read this. I am currently disputing the 1st years payment of the service charge. We were told by the developer (David Wilson Homes) that the first years payment was taken when we bought the house but the payment was for the 1st year after the ownership of the communal areas passed from them to the management company, which was only last year (we bought the house in late 2016). The management company now claim the 1st payment covered ‘the cost of entering into the management agreement with the developer, signing all the leases on the development, meetings, site visits, answering email enquiries, etc.’ I’m pretty sure the first payment was called the ‘initial annual sum’ and subsequent payments are called “annual sum”. Can they get away with that or should I carry on disputing it? They do at least maintain the areas reasonably well but it seems like a swizz getting us to pay twice for the first year.

  296. NikosNikos

    Very good article. I am interested in a new build in Troon, Scotland. The developer told me about these service charges which are 50 pounds per month. The property is a 3 bed semi-detached house. Also, we need to pay 120 pounds by the time we get the keys of the property. All in all 600 pounds per annum. Is it me thinking that is highly expensive or it actually is? One colleague of mine lives in a new build estate of another developer and they pay 45 pounds per year which seems reasonable. I am so worried about that and it might be something from stopping me buying this property although it is our dream house.

  297. Ray DawkinsRay Dawkins

    Interesting reading. I have a similar experience of so called Estate Management scams

  298. SimonSimon

    Toni,
    The argument for a reduction in council tax is a long held one and it will go no-where i am afraid, council tax pays for a lot more than the upkeep of green areas and the roads so that is an argument which cannot be won. The area opposite your home again is not guaranteed and i would go so far as to say that no green area (other than National Trust land etc) can ever be protected from being built on. The home you bought was just that…. a home, but the view is not yours to own i am afraid. I have heard this before from many other first adoptees on new build estates, it is an easy trap to fall into and one the developer would not have told you otherwise, unless you have it in writing that the land you speak of will never be built upon its a battle you cannot win.

  299. ToniToni

    Very interesting article. My husband and I brought our dream home new freehold property 2 years ago and pay a management fee. Whilst I do not have a problem with this so far I am disappointed those living on a private estate entitled to a reduction in their full council tax bill! It seems a bit of money spinner for the local authorities not only are residents being charged the going rate in council tax, the local authorities are also no longer responsible for the upkeep and maintenance on these private estates!

    In addition, our new development is not yet finished and it has recently been brought to our attention that the developer has applied for planning permission to put an access road into another site they recently brought opposite our property. There were no plans to do this when we brought the property 2 yrs ago and the selling point for us was due to the fact we had lovely green landscaped area opposite our property. , We feel we have been mis sold and it seems homeowners are being left exposed on new build sites and have very little protection.

  300. Joan HarrisonJoan Harrison

    Very good article we have been disputing this situation for 7 years. We are selling our property now a and it’s a RIP-off nightmare between the Management Company and our Local Council.
    Thank you for this site.

  301. Mr NASRMr NASR

    Hi there am about to buy my new home., the developer told me anout the annual fees and said we will have full control over the management company .
    Im exploring different home builder and wondering is this free hold on private land applilied to all home builders or there are some who dont charge fees on free hold and if so how to find their names

    Thanking. U
    Ur website is really helping

  302. SimonSimon

    I would say that once an estate is built and the local authority have not adopted it from the get go then there is little chance it will do in the future….. what incentive is there for them to do this ? None, they get all the council tax anyway without all the associated future costs of maintenance……… you have had a lucky escape.

  303. TinaTina

    Thank you very much for this information as we came extremely close to putting a deposit down on a new build! We were held up only because we weren’t able to decide between two properties otherwise we would have put a £1,000. Deposit down. We didn’t like the sound of the estate charge and was led to believe this may only be for a short period of time until the local council adopted theses areas! So thank you very much.

  304. SimonSimon

    Krist,
    I am afraid that unlike those who do not live on private estates you signed a deed when you purchased your property, this will have covenants which are no doubt buried deep within that contract where you agreed to pay a fee for permission to build an extension, sell your home, change your front door etc (if you are allowed at all), it is that simple. The way your property is lived in, is not (i am sorry to say), totally in your control, yes the council have a say to extensions etc but now with the relaxation of planning laws they are unlikely to cause an issue going forward. The faceless committee who really run your estate is another matter, and it is they who have the real power over your property……. it is something you agreed to even if you may not have understood at the time.

  305. KristKrist

    Dear sir/madam,

    We are living in such a property and we are actually happy to pay the service charge as our estate is clearly nicer looking compared to the others that do not pay. The issue we have however, is that there are a board of directors that make decisions on behalf of the estate. With this comes alterations to the property. My argument is that if i would like an extension to my property (that is a freehold property) how can a board of members decline even if i have been given the go ahead by my local council?

  306. George DaviesGeorge Davies

    I have experienced managed companies from 3 angles.

    First example. I was a lease holder in my own flat and although charged over £1500 pa I experienced a standard of customer care and working practices that were and still are verging on corruption.
    The management company, under a section 20 order quite legally increased the reserve fund to pay for car park repairs. However this was 4 years ago and is till being taken although the work has never been done and is against a backcloth of already having £75 k in the fund. How can this be ever justified.

    Secondly I have recently moved from my flat and temporarily moved in with my long term partner. She has now come to sell her house, which is freehold, and the demands from her management company for an information pack, called a Selling Pack, is £450. However it is wroth mentioning that 90% of this pack is irrelevant to the Freeholders as it applies to the leaseholders.
    We have brought this to the attention of the solicitor however cannot continue with the conveyance until we deliver the information pack. This feels like it is tantamount to legal embezzlement.

    Finally and thirdly this can apply to any leaseholder who reads this small editorial.
    In my previous flat and in response to the very suspect practices of the management company, I set up my own Right To Manage company: This solved 90% of our issues and should be recommended.

    George Davies

  307. SimonSimon

    If your house is Freehold then you may not be able to object. I would consult a solicitor who is a specialist in property law. They can virtually charge what they like for very little ” work”.

  308. Richard WallsRichard Walls

    Prior to entering into a Deed of Covenant I requested a breakdown of the services and associated charges and details of the communal area for which the charges would apply. I received this and was happy with it. Subsequently the Management Company has only taken over part of the communal land yet are invoicing for the full value of the Deed. I have paid what I believe to be a reasonable amount, according to the breakdown of the charges originally supplied. The Management company is hounding me for the difference and adding overdue charges. What is my situation?

  309. SimonSimon

    Christine,
    I agree with you in regards the many and varied restrictive covenants, they are often present in Leasehold properties but for Freehold it is a real eye opener for some. The whole point of Freehold is that you own the bricks and the land, therefore why should anyone be able to prevent you from changing your front door or changing your driveway etc without paying some faceless company a pocket full of cash ! These and the uncertainty surrounding maintenance charges is what steered me away from anything built in the last 20 years or so, unfortunately too many are encountering these issues AFTER they have purchased and not before. In this model though the local authorities win (no ongoing maintenance but still full council tax) and the developers win with an ongoing income stream/lack of lump sum payment to the council for adoption, who would want to rock that boat !

  310. Christine StibbardsChristine Stibbards

    Excellent article. Succinct and readable (unlike a TP1).

    However it omitted the obligatory covenants with this one sided set up. They are what rankle me the most. This house feels like a rented house because I have to pay to ask permission to have any kind of structure in the garden, including a shed for a the mower. There are many rules and restrictions. We “owners” are not even allowed to change the colour of our front door. I like the house but it is not mine and it probably never will be.

  311. SimonSimon

    Kenneth – The only way to alter your situation is to sell and move to a property that is ‘ true ‘ freehold, drastic i know and for some it can not be done. The situation at present is that potential buyers of the newer private estate houses are only wary of anything for sale with the words ” Leasehold” on them…… go forward, and if more stories start to surface about the issue surrounding estate rent then this could change very quickly. The current debacle with flats and cladding tells you all you need to know, until Grenfell this was not even on the radar of any future buyers, if we start to see large amounts of money being paid for replacement pumping stations or road resurfacing etc then expect the same kind of public backlash to any ongoing maintenance charges and the private estate properties. The current model will run its course and as with anything the party will end, i believe that owners of certain houses/certain estates will have real difficulty in selling, the trick is to know when to leave the party early !

  312. Kenneth SmithKenneth Smith

    We are in this situation on a 600+ housing estate and are fearful for the future with no redress or opportunity to alter situation.

  313. DrewDrew

    I have noticed in the TP1 I currently have in my possession, that there is a resolution process built into the covenants. Quote “If any dispute difference or question shall arise…such dispute difference or question shall be referred…to the determination and award of a Chartered Surveyor acting as an expert…whose determination and award shall be final and binding on both parties”.
    Also “If after the elapse of three years following the sale and purchase of the last dwelling on the estate a majority of more than 50% of the transferees…serve notice on the Management Company…the outgoing management company shall transfer to the nominee the freehold of the Managed facilities, firstly for the consideration of ONE POUND…and to indemnify the outgoing Management Company in respect of any breach non-performance or non-observance of such covenants”. As you can see, I have taken out the legaleese and highlighted the main points. I am assuming from these covenants that most Estate Management Companies will most likely stay fair, as from what I can see:
    1. The yearly costs can be contested and resolved fairly.
    2. If transferees (homebuyers) are dissatisfied with continual abuse of No.1 with unfair overcharging, non-performance and non-observance. The management company can be simply sacked, within the power of the tranferees and another company nominated.
    I am assuming these covenants are in place So the Estate Management companies have accountability and will conduct business fairly. My question is, is this fairly standard? As I find it hard to believe some Estate Management companies can charge whatever they like without any accountability or liability to the work promised.

  314. SimonSimon

    Nick,
    Yes you can in certain circumstances change them but it all depends on what you and the other residents signed when you purchased the property, a solicitor who deals in this would need to be consulted. In terms of tax raising, no its not a tax as such but as stated in a lot of the articles in regards private estates and estate rent, the costs are unlimited…… they simply have to be, if you take the example of a pumping station, they are by definition very expensive items, eventually they will need to be either repaired or changed, who do you think will pay for that ? Well it will be you and the other residents, because if not, who pays ? If you have a massive fly tipping issue on the land then the costs for this have to be paid by the management company, i.e you and the others. There simply can not be a monetary limit on this as the range of situations that can occur is unlimited, 99% of the time it will be grass cutting and some fence/signage replacement etc but there could be a lot more that no one can foresee. This is the main reason i did not purchase a property on a private estate, it is simply too much of a risk….. and yes they can pretty much charge what they like and not have to justify what they do (freehold houses anyway) for leasehold there is more legislation allowing residents to question the billing but given they are now banned it’s freehold all the way !!!

  315. NickNick

    Is there any way to get rid of a poorly performing estate management company? Do they essentially have tax raising powers by default (i.e. you have to pay, they don’t have to provide a service). Thanks!

  316. Mark MorrisMark Morris

    You’re completely wrong to assume that this is an entirely new model. It’s existed elsewhere at least since the 1967 Leasehold Reform Act gave leaseholders the right to buy freeholds without abolishing private estates. So in the huge Dulwich Estate in south London the problem of freeholders paying service charges while the lanes to their homes are poor maintained has been going on all my life, and freeholders have to get consent (and pay fees for it) to change the appearance on their houses, which the Estate is notoriously reluctant to give.

  317. SimonSimon

    Ina,
    In brief you are in a no win situation at the moment, currently only those who have Leasehold houses have the ability to challenge the costs charged for communal areas etc in court, Freeholders do not, the govt are looking at this but as we stand at the moment you would not win. The legislation around this was never aimed at those who own the Freehold of their house, because in the past if you owned the Freehold you paid nothing more for any land around your property (like most of the older Freehold houses in this country), it was maintained by the local authority (which is why you pay council tax) The ” Estate Rent” model changed this to what we have today. I am afraid you are playing a dangerous game which could end in the Freeholder taking you to court and there is a possibility they can take the house from you ! Google this, you have been lucky so far, there are many lenders who will now not give mortgages on Freehold properties with the clause that allows the management company to seize the house after arrears for non payment of Estate Rent…… be very careful, i do not know exactly what type of contract you signed for the yearly maintenance payments but it could contain this clause. I would consult a solicitor now, maybe find one via friends who have used a good one, either way at the moment with arrears to the management company you could NOT sell your house even if you wanted too. Good luck.

  318. InaIna

    I live in a new development built in 2006. I’m a free holder and very happy with the house because the new houses are built to be energy efficient and do not require any major work. However, I’m not happy with the management company. I was fully aware before purchasing the house that there is shared area that need to be maintained by all the residents and I was OK to pay for it. I was paying regularly for four years but the management company never come to do any work around my house, which includes green area and parking where my park is parked. I asked them several times by email and they responded they did not inherit that area, which was radiculus because the land registry shows clearly that area is communal and needs to be maintained by the company. Four years I was maintain that area by myself while regularly paying to the management company. In 2018 I have said, enough is enough, stopped maintaining the area and stopped paying maintenance fees. I hope they would bring me to the court and will come to some solution but they have not done that. They send me continuously letters reminding me to pay and I respond that will pay when they clean the rubbish around my house and cat but they do not want to do that. Now, they say they do not want to go any work because I do not pay. I have prove of everything what I say here because U contact them by emails. I’m hopeless and would like to get in touch with owners with similar experience. I have already emailed to the MP in my area and I’m prepared to go to the court. I think it is unacceptable to sell the house that I really love because those things. It seems that the management companies could do whatever they want with us and we do not have any rights. Who regulates those companies? Do you know any good solicitor who deals with those topics? Thanks in advance.

  319. SimonSimon

    Jennifer,
    Are the houses Freehold or Leasehold ? It matters a lot in terms of what you can challenge ref costs etc. I recall posting my thoughts on the life expectancy of pumping stations a while ago but even i am surprised the station on your land needs fixing after just 5 years !!! You may have a point in terms of it not being fit for purpose but it would be a civil action against the developer and that could get expensive. I am sorry you have found out about the pitfalls of the private estate model in this way but these charges, and more, are going to be difficult to avoid given the pumping station is there to keep the land the houses are built upon from flooding, if it stops working you may have bigger issues. My issue would be with your solicitor who should of made you aware (or should of been aware) of this already ongoing ” nightmare”, that is where i would be looking. The previous owners have been very lucky to sell.

  320. Jennifer sewellJennifer sewell

    We have recently bought a 5 year old property and walked into a nightmare. There are 25 properties in the estate. The management company is incurring significant costs to repair a pump station that was never fit for purpose in the start. All queries to the management company are ignored. We are unsure how to move forward or how to resolve the core issue. The management company also seems to be charging exorbitant fees for services that don’t exist, and yet we get no answers. It’s stressful to know we are liable to these never ending charges. The residents are united in trying to solve the problems, for fair and reasonable charges however I am unsure how effective our efforts will be

  321. Janet PowellJanet Powell

    More power to your elbow – we have been tied up in such an arrangement without our knowledge – furthermore we are now having to take court action as they refuse to move a lamp post they put up in our front garden because they used the wrong land plan!! Had we known that this was going to happen we would never have bought our freehold bungalow. This scandal MUST be stopped.

  322. SimonSimon

    Think of the land registry as a govt ” library”, its job is not to scrutinize the underlying legal documents but to register a parties interest in that piece of land or property. The time to determine if paying fees is to be allowed to build a small extension or to change your front door is BEFORE you sign at the solicitors office. I do understand that a lot of people feel cheated by escalating rent-charge fees/permission fees but when spending upwards of £250,000 (up north you get a lot for this), it’s incumbent upon the buyer to understand totally what they are agreeing too. I was as naive as most buyers a few years ago but something did not feel right when I was about to agree to the purchase of a new LEASEHOLD house WITH rent charge !! I simply asked questions on the internet and within an hour or so knew that i needed to avoid this at all costs, maybe i have a suspicious mind, either way, we are all responsible for what we contractually sign up for.

  323. Noelle LuttonNoelle Lutton

    Why did the Land Registry a government office allow this to happen and
    also fee paying permission fees on freehold properties
    for such things as a small conservatory etc that don’t need planning permission from the local council planning office

  324. SimonSimon

    Julia,
    You will need to take separate legal advice on this, i can see the advantage of setting up a residents management company which then can better regulate what is being done and how much it costs….. but to become directors of the existing management company ? Not heard of this before, this is one of the pitfalls of the new build ” business model” it can have all manner of hidden issues which are not understood when in the happy period just before purchase. I would sign up for nothing until you have spoken with a property lawyer.

  325. JuliaJulia

    We live on a new estate (5 years old). We were told there would be a management fee for maintenance of the grounds which was £80 at the time. This has now risen to £230 and is nothing to do with the grounds as such. It is to pay for the maintenance of shared driveways or block paved access roads. Only 98 houses pay because they either have a shared driveway or a paved road infront of their property. The managing agent has told us that we need to become Directors otherwise we will not be able to sell our properties. This carries a financial risk and we are not keen. Is this true? He has told one resident that it will cost him £600 in order to alter the deeds of his property. ??

  326. Edward EarleEdward Earle

    Can you have a residents association on an estate of mixed lease holders and freeholders the common area’s are owed by a landlord. we all pay service charge or rent charge

  327. SimonSimon

    Given that the recession will affect the developers just like everyone else i doubt it ! The model for ongoing service charges has been a great financial addition to all the house builders, it has worked and means it’s the gift that keeps giving, why would they want to kill the golden goose.

  328. John GregorJohn Gregor

    Are developers likely to change their stance due to the forthcoming recession?

  329. MaryMary

    I’m in the process of selling a freehold property and the sale has stalled. The purchasers Solicitor says in the title deeds, there is a charge on the common areas that the management company maintain. This charge is from the builders mortgage lender and the purchasers Solicitor will not proceed until it is clear. The development is 15 years old and many properties have exchanged over the years. Is this Solicitor correct and why has no one else picked it up if it’s so important?

  330. SimonSimon

    Revan – To be fair to the house builders (which i am not a fan by the way) i feel it too strong to call this a form of theft, the information is out there as to the need for ongoing charges for the grounds/play areas etc on new build houses, your solicitor would have been aware of the need to pay annual maintenance charges and should of explained this to you. There are also choices in what you buy, i am in a house which is true Freehold, with no charges for the land outside my property, i too could of purchased a new build but decided not to due to the charges you have now found out about, there are many properties up for sale that are like mine, they just need to be sought out. I am unsure what legal aspect you could look at, you would of signed a deed when the property was purchased agreeing to these charges. There is no easy way out of this i am afraid.

  331. RevanRevan

    Just got a mortgage for a new built, moved in on November 2019. Got a bill for £300, for service charges to maintain playground and green spaces. We are struggling with rising council taxes and utility bills as it is, this is just another tax on new buyers. What is the difference between this and stealing? If people don’t get a chance to decide whether they want to purchase something or not, how is this legally justified? I bought this particular property because it was the cheapest in the market. I didn’t have choice on whether I wanted a property with these charges or not. I am looking for legal advice to get out of this. I really don’t like these schemes where I have to work hard for my money, and certain companies just take it from me, I have no power over my own money.

  332. SimonSimon

    Paul,
    I have not heard of this particular clause before, i would consult a solicitor and get them to explain exactly what it means in the real world……. but anything which limits choice on something that fundamental will certainly affect the properties value. There are plenty of houses out there without any of these restrictions or extras costs, why take the chance, walk away.

  333. Paul WattonPaul Watton

    Looking at buying a house on an estate and buried in the detail is a clause that limits rights for electricity, gas and waste pipes for a “specified period” of 80 years which started in 1993. This will make the property more difficult to sell in the future.

  334. PaulPaul

    Looking at buying a house on an estate and buried in the detail is a clause that limits rights for electricity, gas and waste pipes for a “specified period” of 80 years which started in 1993. This will make the property more difficult to sell in the future.

  335. AdamAdam

    Hi Simon, My solicitor tells me this is a long term fix and will allow us to sell on with no issues. Yes, the property is worth it otherwise I would have pulled out,

  336. SimonSimon

    Adam – You have a good solicitor, think of the poor people who have purchased not knowing this, I did not know that estate rent was around in 2006, i thought it only really took off in 2008. If the paperwork (deed) gets sorted i know the lender will be protected but when you come to sell……. could this cause you issues with any future buyer ? I trust this particular property is worth all this hassle and the risk in the future ?

  337. AdamAdam

    Hi, I’m currently buying a freehold property on a 2006 build house. We were near completion when my solicitor found an issue where there is a Land management company involved in the maintenance of the green space. All seemed straight forward until my solicitor found that there had been a case recently where a management company had attempt to seize a property as the service charge had not been paid by the home owner. This has now caused lender to ask for certain assurances to protect them lending. At first it seemed an indemnity policy would cover this, but after a couple of weeks lenders changed their stance and it now needs a deed of variation to resolve the issue. After a month of wrangling the sellers solicitor finding understood what was needed and the management company dictated the fee to resolve, which as of a month ago the seller paid for. Still as of today the management company have not a approved the deed and no one can seem to do anything about the. How can this be and is anyone else having the same issue, as I’m told currently 1,7 million homes in the UK will affect by this.

  338. NealNeal

    Hi, I’m in the process of selling a freehold house on a new build estate that is subject to a rentcharge. The buyers solicitors have raised an enquiry on the transfer deed and they have concerns over entry to the property or creation of a lease should they fall into arrears. There is a clause to state that a demand notice will be sent to both the debtor and the mortgage lender should such a situation occur prior to the management company exercising this right. The management company is a private company limited by guarantee with no shareholders. My understanding this is controlled by the members i.e. all the residents on the estate. The buyers solicitor is pushing for a deed of variation to remove section 121 so entry or a lease cannot be created. My solicitor has contacted the managing agent who have advised we need to contact the freeholder which is a separate company to the management company. I am somewhat confused by this, can anyone help explain?

  339. RachelRachel

    I am in the process of buying a freehold house on an estate with both leasehold flats and freehold houses. I have received a management pack which does not explain at all which costs go to make up the service charge and so far haven’t managed to get an explanation. However, the entire management fee for the flats and estate (land) is listed under estate costs (not under the flat block costs). Quick calculation based on the number of properties shows that freeholders and leaseholders are all paying an equal share of the entire management fee. In effect, freeholders are partly paying for flat management – is that a common arrangement?

  340. SimonSimon

    JulieG- As far as i am aware the current legislation concerning charges levied on homeowners by managing companies/agents is only applicable to leaseholders and not freeholders, the legislation was conceived to cover flats and other such dwellings i don’t think it was ever thought of that annual maintenance would be paid on a freehold property as the current private estate model was not born……. your property must of been one of the early adopters to fall into this modern scourge. I understand the govt are looking into bringing in something to cover freeholders but as we stand at the moment there is nothing, they can pretty much charge what they like for what ever they like.

  341. Julie GJulie G

    Paid cash for a freehold property on a new build estate in August 2008. There is a management company which we are all members of and a Managing Agent. Looking up details in Companies House I note the directors on the Management Company are the same as those on the Managing Agent. Can that be right ? Like others before us we were told there would be a small annual fee of £60 to cover the maintenance of the communal areas on the estate. The fees are due on the 1st of January each year, last year we were told that the Managing Agent had changed and the bank account would be different so it was fortunate that we wait for the invoice (demand) to be sent. This year we received an invoice dated 10th Feb for the fee which was £96.79 plus late charges of £30. I have informed them that we did not receive their “demand” and asked for a copy and a breakdown of the annual estate maintenance budget for the year. I also asked for their complaints procedure only to be told that they did not have one, they did not have to send a demand out and we knew the fee was due 1st January and they were not prepared to send out a copy of the budget. It seems |I am not allowed to complain as I am not a customer and they are not offering a customer service. They are obnoxious and bullies – Where do you go from here because my argument of how do you know how much I have to pay if I do not receive an invoice is falling on deaf ears

  342. Tesh RaiTesh Rai

    If you were not told at the time or not shown the terms and conditions when making your reservation for the purchase which would eventually be enshrined in your TP1 or TR, and your solicitor did not send every piece of document as the enquiry and searches were progressing to keep you informed and to advise you accordingly of the pitfalls, pros & cons of buying your freehold and later found out that he registered the land with all these restrictive covenants, then you may have a claim against your conveyancing solicitor if you believe he did not use his professional experience to advise you accordingly which you relied upon and caused you to be in this financial predicament, then you have acclaim against him for professional negligence, speak to a solicitor who specialise in professional negligence.

  343. NikNik

    Our property management is trying to get us to pay a reserve fee as the developers may need to move the gates into our development as they are in the wrong place, the developers have said this is down to new legislation but cannot tell us what legislation, the reserve fee will cover the cost of moving the gates but as residents we feel this cost should be covered by the developer, I am refusing to pay until I can be told what legislation has changed but the management company have said we need to pay and have threatened to get an external company to come and collect the money.

  344. SimonSimon

    Yvonne – I don’t think you can give up any land you do not want because if that was the case then it would happen on a lot of private new build estates which would cause chaos. If this was the case then who would sort issues out if fly tipping etc takes place on the land no one is taking responsibility for, or at best less people are paying in so the monies owed by the remainder will be more? I do not think this is a ‘ pick and mix ‘ world. As to taking over the management, yes i know this is possible but why would i want too…… i would simply buy a house where i did not have this hassle, i.e a true freehold house where the land outside is owned and maintained by the council, when i get home from work after a 10 hour shift sorting out estate admin and other work is the last thing i want to do, especially as my friends living on a non private estate do not have this issue but pay the same council tax as i do. If i owned a house on a private estate now i would be looking to sell before this story really breaks and selling will prove more difficult.

  345. YvonneYvonne

    I am the second owner of a house on a new build development, the last stages of the estate are still being built. Our freehold house is one in a block surrounding a courtyard and was chosen because it has no parking rights or garden gate access. So we thought there would be no service charge for that area. We did know that there would be a charge for the public green space, playground and SUDS (drainage) and thought we were paying these. Then the Land Trust starting charging us too, for the public ateas. . So council tax and two service charges. Our solicitor never made this fact clear. Apparently we had been paying a managing agent all along for the courtyard. So after some advice from a parish councillor we found some interesting information. Each parcel of land was run by a different managing agent. The home owners are all members and have a share of the Residents Management Company (it is your company). When the final house was completed a handover should occur. Check your service charge invoice for your company name and find information about it on Companies House. Call an EGM and put forward names of owners to become resident directors who can instruct the managing agent and control budget spending. We did this and have cut costs. I have no use for the courtyard but have had to take on this role on behalf of the other residents to keep our charges down. I am wondering if I can give up ownership of the land I never wanted in the first place.

  346. SimonSimon

    There has been no significant movement to my knowledge, as far i understand there are moves in govt to have homeowners on new estates who are freeholders to be given the same rights as leaseholders, this will mean they can challenge the charges being levied for grass cutting etc, currently freeholders do not have these rights and have to simply pay what they are told to pay by the management company appointed. This model of ‘ estate rent ‘ will not end, i would say to anyone who is looking at buying a new build house to either accept this or look elsewhere, with the govt cuts to local authorities and the increasing demand on them in terms of long term social care for the elderly and other financial pressures they do not have the monies to take on the new estates, it serves both parties for this current model to continue. This is something that new buyers will have to factor into their budgets if they are determined to buy new.

  347. Tobin D ElliottTobin D Elliott

    Has there been any movement on resolving this issue?

  348. SimonSimon

    I would be amazed if any new build estate built today is adopted by the local authority from day one, this ‘estate rent’ model will be the norm going forward and unlike older buyers, the younger/more naive customers may not fully understand what they are signing up to. I have a friend who ‘has a friend’ who works for one of the larger house builders and has said that local authorities are now not giving planning permission for new developments unless a maintenance contract/company etc is in place….. i.e they have zero inclination to ever take on the maintenance of the estates that are being built at any time ! Sad indeed. I still believe that in the future it will be increasingly difficult to sell on houses built on private estates whilst still paying full council tax where-by the costs you are liable for are uncapped and the monies you pay are factored into the corporate pension models of FTSE 100 companies.

  349. Sukanta SahaSukanta Saha

    Peterborough Hampton Garden is a new built and the same is happening there

  350. SimonSimon

    James W – Think very carefully about this, it could be a one way street in regards it being easy to buy but hard to sell in the future, i would forget the reduction in council tax, it’s a red herring and will not happen. The costs are ” uncapped”, so this opens up a whole world of possibilities, if the estate has a pumping station (as a lot have due to drainage problems with the top water) then in years to come this will need to be either changed or repaired….. who do you think pays for this ? I can tell you you for sure it will NOT be the local authority. There are many ” used ” houses out there without the estate rent, have a chat with the rest of your family about this.

  351. JameswJamesw

    I would never buy a leasehold property so helping my son buy a freehold property on a private Estate. In the final stages of the conveyancing discovered this hornets nest of fleecehold -leasehold via the backdoor. This is leasehold in all but name. I am horrified but I do not want to disappoint my son. Not yet exchanged contracts. If the charge is that small it should be deductible from council tax as the green spaces should be the council’s responsibility to maintain anyway. It interesting that 50% of the charge is for administration and nothing to do with maintenance.

  352. SimonSimon

    Richard – In terms of you doing something i doubt as an individual you can, it’s your MP who will need to be put under pressure to fight this and have a cap placed on the estate rent fees which can only go upwards in the future. The MP for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman), seems to be the lead on this, you say that the estimated fees on your property have increased, i assume you mean the land outside your house i.e the estate communal areas. There is a degree of urgency on this as only last night did i read an article on the BBC Business web page about a property which had fallen through because the potential buyers could not secure a mortgage due to the estate rent charge !! This is obviously very serious and would mean that the property would lose thousands of pounds in value and potentially could be unsalable. I agree this needs dealing with right now. The MP route is the obvious one.

  353. Richard IyavooRichard Iyavoo

    My wife n I have bought a new built home in Axminster, developed by Bovis n we are actually exactly the same problem and we have been presented with a bill based on estimated huge costs for the maintenance of the property
    We have so many of our neighbours n friends who are in the same boat n are not happy at all
    We’re wondering if we can do something about it.

  354. Shane EasterbrookShane Easterbrook

    We have a management company called First Port. I have contacted them 3 times by phone to complain about the same things. Overgrown bushes, blown down trees left in the flowerbeds etc. They have done nothing. I have taken pictures and videos and am now refusing to pay. If they want to take me to court bring it on!

  355. SimonSimon

    Jenna,
    A petition can do no harm but i think the best approach is for your local MP to be brought on board with this, the council tax angle is a common argument but the monies raised by this are not just for roads and grassed areas, they pay for the Police and lots of other local council commitments to do with social care etc. I see no realistic option for a low council tax for those who choose to buy a new build with ongoing estate rent charges. The council choose not to take on the new estates for many reasons and yes one of them is their own reducing budgets but also some developers do not meet the councils strict building standards for the roads/pavements/play areas etc so if the council took them on they would need to spend local tax payers monies to improve them from the start….. not viable. The only real way to mitigate this is for the publicity to be far and wide to prevent others from falling into this trap, the new builds do have a ‘ pull ‘ for new buyers but with this comes the sting of ongoing charges, these are totally uncapped and in years to come could raise to god knows what should larger infrastructure work need to be done (i.e new pumping stations/sink holes/fly tipping etc). All of these will fall upon the home owners as the land is private, like a new car, a new build estate will cost a minimal amount to maintain at first but as the years roll by, who knows, and it’s this which will mean the selling of these new builds in the future may be problematic. I would book in with your MP at their next surgery and have them take this on, if all new build owners did this throughout the country then things have a chance of changing.

  356. JennaJenna

    Is it possible to have a new petition started on this? It is really unfair that we are paying a huge Council Tax bill for where we live and these fees on top!

    Surely something’s needs to be done?

  357. ToniToni

    Hi there
    Our ‘Management Company’ have invoiced usfor a years charges in advance? Surely you only pay after having received any service – in arrears? Also, they have added a £60.00 charge for late payment/reminder letter. Surely this can’t be right either? They just seem to pluck figures out of the sky. Very frustrating – especially as our property is freehold.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Dear Toni – Sorry to hear this. Sometimes they do send an estimated bill and then make amendments once they have had the account audited at the end of the year. It may be worth checking the documentation you have to see when they said they would invoice you.

  358. Robert JonesRobert Jones

    After reading several articles, comments and anything I can, I am not proceeding with the purchase of a new build. I will stay in my 22 year old, new build, freehold with no rip off charges. The only way to fix this is to massively raise awareness so that the homes subject to these spurious charges remain unsold, unloved and empty, forcing the builders to reconsider their unashamedly blatant exploitation of new home owners.
    Shame shame shame!

  359. SimonSimon

    Lisa – I would expect that there should be something in place if the ” estate ” has not been adopted by the council…… have you called them to check ? It matters because if there is nothing in place (and it’s not adopted by the council) then you are opening yourself up for open ended costs should an incident occur on the land, an example being a sink hole …… they happen more than most think, if it happens outside your house in the un-adopted road then who pays ? I would be wary of any purchase if this element was not 100% clear cut.

  360. Lisa ruseellLisa ruseell

    If buying a freehold property on an estate of 12 houses and there has never been a management company and now the solicitor is trying to contact the ‘landlord’ where do you stand purchasing a house ???

  361. SimonSimon

    Wow the comments by Julia John and Moi spell out very clearly the dangers of buying with any kind of ongoing charges to be paid .The purpose of these payments is spelt out by the developer in glossy brochures and slick sales patter before signing the contracts. but in reality after you have signed on the dotted line these monies to be paid every year are simply another income stream for the developer/management company/investment vehicle etc, it is that simple, the grass cutting and other such nonsense is a smoke screen for charging the maximum amount of money for the smallest amount of work. I agree that this needs to stop but whilst Brexit is sucking all the time from the commons then i don’t see how this will change in the short term. It’s only with forum’s like this that the message will be communicated.

  362. Julia JohnJulia John

    14 houses in development 4 of which are social housing who pay nothing to the management company. We are one of two houses on the development outside the private road with access on a different road and never use the private road. We still pay almost £400 each year to the Management Company!

  363. MolMol

    Please start a new petition!
    We have a freehold house on a historic street in a conservation area directly on a street maintained by the Highways authority. Our car park space is in an historic courtyard next door with four car parking spaces, ours being the longest. We were told it was ‘space’ (singular and plural) for our two cars and belonged to the house.
    We had a shared drive on our previous deed with a covenant sharing freeholder responsibility so assumed it would be the same. It cost us about £10 p.a. and was about x10 the size of this one. At exchange, we found it was a Leasehold space with a service charge. August Bank Holiday weekend Friday and we were moving on Tuesday. We thought it was underhand.
    Then we got the service accounts 6 months later and ALL the charges were totalled for a nearby block of flats and apportioned to our car park space. It has taken over ten years to dispute this (supposed to be percentage of car park access costs only). We offered to buy the freehold of the access way from the developer but they sold it instead for less to the owner of the flats (investor). The management company are still trying to recoup costs although now they have split out the accounts and boosted the charges to come out to the same amount.
    We are so tired of this situation. Our house is on the front of tourist guide books for our city and yet so many leave because of this situation.
    Now it has got worse because we have AirBNB ‘hosts’ (they don’t live here) taking over the leases of the historic flats and one freehold house nearby so they have got the car park changed to enforced parking and threatened to charge us £100 a day for parking two cars. So the other three spaces are people coming and going all the time. Nightmare.
    No community left. We pay for gardening and cleaning (no plants or garden, it is all block paving with weedkiller) and bin cleaning (fair enough as I got fed up doing it). There are 8 properties using the courtyard, based around it, accessing their doors from it, using the bins. Only four of us are paying the costs for this, and we are the only property not actually located on this courtyard.
    The solicitors who drew up the leases should be held to account as well as the agents who mismanage the accounts and fail to supervise costs (for a £500 p.a.fee). We would like the tied lease changed to a freehold parking space with joint responsibility amongst the other freeholders. These solicitor-developer driven documents are causing too much stress and social tension. There is no reason for a few properties to be locked in to this service situation; this is not an estate but a conservation area with restored properties and some infills on historic streets in city centre.

  364. SimonSimon

    Christine – If your house is a Leasehold property then there are avenues whereby you can challenge the amount and what is being done with the monies, if, however it is Freehold then no, there is no way at present to challenge the amount or what it is being spend (or not) on. This should of come up when you purchased the house with your solicitor explaining this to you. There is no easy way out of paying this money as you are contractually obliged to do so. I too would be somewhat upset if the maintenance element payable by the local authority residents was being paid by the council (i.e the tax payer), but this i am afraid is the world we now live in and the only way to avoid it is NOT to purchase a new build ‘anything’ ! As every one (to my mind) has this ongoing charge via all manner of legal documents you sign when purchasing the house/flat.

  365. Christine FlynnChristine Flynn

    We live on an estate with a management company. However, the council have adopted the road and all th grass areas bar one. We are paying over £200 a year for basically one area to be cut supposedly every 2 weeks in the summer and once a month in the winter. I know this isn’t the case as the area is directly outside my house, so it’s obvious when it’s been cut. We seem to be paying for basically for the flats, dont get me wrong they pay more, but dont see what else they are doing. I have also found out that the council are paying the fee for the people in the council houses, so not only do I pay for the estate management, my council tax, I also seem to be paying for the council house as well, twice! Is there anyway that we can over throw the companies as this doesn’t make sense.

  366. SimonSimon

    John – It’s not a bad idea, if the general public become more aware of exactly what is involved when a house is purchased on an estate with ongoing maintenance charges then your type of property will become less desirable (i.e difficult to sell). The leasehold scam has been exposed and the public are now more aware, it will not be too long before the ‘ estate rent ‘ scam is also out in the public domain. I would get out now and buy a property with no obligation to pay for land you have no control over. Good luck

  367. John MichaelJohn Michael

    Fed up with management company. Wish I knew then what I know now!! Seriously thinking of selling and going back to normal freehold property!!

  368. SimonSimon

    Not to stand up for the developers too much…… but the role of a charity is to support the truly needy and those who have nothing in terms of options in life or an ability to purchase a home, if your in the lucky financial position to be able to buy a house on a new private estate costing in excess of £300,000 (often a lot more) then i would argue you don’t need a charities assistance and all you do need is an ability to conduct research into what your buying, and if you did that then these posts and many others would highlight that maybe you should be looking at another option than buying on a private estate. The buying of a home is the biggest purchase anyone will ever make, it should be taken seriously and research should be done, i did…… and did not buy on a private estate, others can do the same.

  369. AAAA

    The developers and councils are preying on poor people with their useless practices. Can people just stop buying fake freeholds and demand to be respected?
    Why don’t we have Charity companies building homes? All they do is save birds, dogs and sell dirty clothes on the high streets. About time we get quality not for profit house builders that people would be proud to donate to.

  370. AAAA

    The U.K is a corrupt country where the guys in suit are worse than common thieves. The solution is for low – middle income people to start a building company that builds 100% freehold homes with public spaces managed by a fund with no need for annual fees. Some basic things in life should never be used as a way to rip people off. Scams must not be legalised.

  371. SimonSimon

    That fee is not fair at all for the amount of work which goes into the paperwork, but when a house on a private estate is purchased you are virtually signing a blank cheque when it comes to your future obligations.

  372. Ian baconIan bacon

    What about the fees when a person comes to sell the property,, £344.00. Is this fair..??

  373. SimonSimon

    Les – Its worse than a simple £200, it means you and your fellow house buyers are forever responsible for the land outside your front garden, and that could mean all manner of other ‘ one off ‘ costs which no one can even imagine right now…… the pumping station on most estates being an easy one, think very carefully before signing on the dotted line, once done…….

  374. LesLes

    Glad I found this was about to buy house in Howden East Riding Yorkshire
    York vale being built by Harron homes was told in there showroom office about small maintenance charge of about £200 pounds year looks like that’s the same so council doesn’t have to maintain park area so an added back door extra council tax
    It’s scandalous

  375. Christopher DunbarChristopher Dunbar

    We started leasing a property from moray housing partnerships in Fochabers in February 2018 and our street is open planned with a large front garden with a grassy waist land at the side of our house which has been closed of with security fencing by the developers and on the fence a sight which says construction site keep out , any way we have recently discovered a path is supposed to be going from the grassy area straight across our lawn which people are already doing even with security fence and the sign . The housing partnership did tell us if the path wasn’t in in 2 years it would never happen anyway but feel this may have been to keep us sweet . Do we have any rights or actions we can or could take ? Do we have to maintain the front lawn which the path is supposed to be crossing as i don’t want to if it is , and is moving the only way out ? I have a daughter diagnosed with autism and has sensory issues which I’m afraid of being affected the most.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Christopher thanks for your message. It seems as though you need to ask your conveyancer to review the deeds of the property again to see the boundaries of the property and also go through the lease document to see what it says in there. Please consider becoming a member of HomeOwners Alliance. Membership costs £45 (only £40 during our summer sale!) and entitles you to unlimited phone and email access to our HomeHelpline, and a free legal call – https://hoa.org.uk/homeowners-alliance-membership/

  376. SimonSimon

    Nightmare indeed William – If that is not sorted quickly then the area will start to go downhill and cost more to bring back, and as you say no owner can sell and even if you could the price will be lower given no ongoing maintenance will be done, if you have something on the development that can ‘ break ‘ like a pumping station etc then that could cause real issues if no one has been paying to keep it serviced etc. I would get together with all the 10 owners and put the funds you normally pay into an account to pay for a property solicitor to get this dealt with asap. Good luck

  377. williamwilliam

    We live on a new private development of 10 properties the development company has been dissolved and the management company has also been dissolved so the land is now passed to the treasury they were both owned by the same people. The residents have been maintaining the green ares ourselves. We are trying to take possession of this land as no maintenance was ever done by the Management company. We also have the problem if we want to sell our house we have to have the permission of the Management company who no longer exists as there is a restriction at the Land Registry.
    Nightmare!

  378. Barry ChallinorBarry Challinor

    Our director won’t even speak to us

  379. SimonSimon

    Mike,
    As far as i know the council only get money off the developer under 106 if they are going to be adopting the estate…… may be wrong but why pay the council for services that in the future they will not be taking on ? This ” confusion ” is why houses on private estates may cause issues in the future when it comes to selling on.

  380. MikeMike

    Hi all.This is my first post and am as fed up as you.We have a situation where 2 years ago the developer opened a play area and used a managing agent to run our companyThere are still 130 homes to be built and we have been told there will only be 1 management companyWe learnt last week that the managing agent has now been given the completed parts of the estate to maintain.This includes an area that is to be gifted to the council for allotments and a field,that planning permission was refused for(because of bats).There has been no transfer of land to our company so effectively are going to be maintaining the developers land for them.Whilst dealing with the agent there have been ongoing questions as to why completion funds seem to take so long to reach accounts,without any clear answers.Regarding councils,the amount of money they are taking from developers in section 106’s is scary as undoubtedly is also reflected in your house price.

  381. SimonSimon

    To be fair to the developers the land your bricks and mortar sit on is Freehold, the problem is that the land outside your gate/driveway etc is not owned and taken care of by the council…… it’s your and your fellow purchasers responsibility., it’s this which I and others who’s house is also Freehold do not have. I simply could not sign up for an unknown future when it comes to payments for land which the public have total access and which i will have to pay for, for as long as i live in the house, the local authority will never adopt these estates…. why should they ? They get the full council tax anyway without any of the costs, it”s a win win. I do feel for those who buy on these estates as i totally believe that in the future there may be issues with selling them in a similar way that the Leasehold tenure has become so toxic.

  382. AaronAaron

    I too have fallen foul of this, but at the point of sale. Because the management company are involved I have to shell out £400 for an ‘information pack’ that the buyer will require. Is it printed on gold lined paper or something?

    Absolutely outrageous, it shouldn’t be called ‘freehold’ it should be called ‘freehold lite’.

  383. M v DonnellyM v Donnelly

    I bought my house 3years ago. It is a new estate and we were supposed to manage ourselves, but, the builder passed us onto a management company, they have increased our charge by 50%. We have had no A.G.M. Surely we should have some rights of how we wish to manage ourselves? Mike.

  384. SimonSimon

    Georgia – Well if your solicitor can not get an answer then what hope would you or anyone else have ! If the estate is private (i.e not adopted by the council) then i see no reason why the information can be be given to you very quickly indeed, are we saying here that the management company do not know what they are charging for ? If so that is a worry, also would you sign up to pay an unknown amount of money for something you know little about ? No, of course you would not, and not many would. I would think very carefully before you go ahead with this, the fact they are taking this long to come back with what on the surface should be a simple list of charges is a tad worrying. Is the house freehold ? Are any of the current houses occupied by owners who you could knock on and ask what they pay for and how much ? Seems a bit excessive i know but over 3 months to get simple answers !

  385. GeorgiaGeorgia

    I am in the process of buying my first house with an estate rent charge and a service charge?
    We wasn’t made aware at first when we was shown or had our offer accepted it had a estate charge. I have spoken to a few people and know one seems to understand why there would be to charges. Are solicitors are struggling to get the right information from from the company regarding this rent charge? Me and my partner love the house however, we are unsure whether its the right decision for the future? We will have trouble selling it on in the future and roughly how long does it take to get answer we have waited nearly 3 and half months so far. Feels like something is right?
    Any advise anybody could give us?

  386. SimonSimon

    I would say that although possible a lot of new home owners with busy lives simply would not wish to take the responsibility on, you would be directors and have all the responsibility that comes with that, the filing of accounts, dealing with the financial side of things and that includes those who will not pay (there will be some), also the admin with finding suitable quotes and ensuring the works are done and the bills paid. It could be a mill-stone and one that owners of houses not on a private estate do not have to deal with. I would canvass opinion around the estate first to see if any of the other residents feel as you do and would be willing to do it, i am on a committee in regards a number of flats i own (BTL), and we employ a management company to arrange all this, and it’s still a pain ! If you were doing it all yourself then i am not sure it would work out.

  387. CraigCraig

    I would be interested to know if any residents on any developments across the UK have considered taking ownership of the maintenance areas themselves. I have recently moved into a new build on a site which is still undergoing construction for at least another year. From what I have read in the deeds, when the final property on the development is built and sold, the residents will become Directors of the maintenance company and then have the ability to choose maintenance provider (in reality I am not sure how this is done, would we need to form a committee?). If we were to set up a small not-for-profit company/charity we could essentially appoint ourselves to undertake the maintenance rather than an expensive management company who might provide a very poor service. It seems that we have an opportunity here to avoid falling into the management company trap whilst the developer is still building.

  388. SimonSimon

    The information regarding the ongoing ‘ Estate Rent ‘ charges will not be in the deeds as such but in a separate document which you must of signed when the house was first purchased……. and your solicitor should of highlighted it. I am afraid that this is just one of the consequences when private (profit driven) management companies get involved in the housing market and goes someway in confirming what i think will happen in the future as more and more people hear of the leasehold issues and now the ongoing estate rent issues, there will be a two tier market, it is sad and shocking and this govt and previous ones have been asleep at the wheel, imagine if you purchased a house which was leasehold and had estate rent charges as well ! You would find it even more difficult to sell it. I can not offer any crumb of comfort i am afraid, they can charge virtually what they like for very little ” work”, at least the ongoing charge is reasonable, i have heard of others much higher than yours. Just keep trying and you will find a purchaser who may accept these extra charges. Good luck.

  389. MR & MRS LISTERMR & MRS LISTER

    We own our freehold property outright. We have a 3 bed detached property with garage and private drive. We have no grassland at all around anyone near our house but have to pay £108.00 a year for upkeep of grassland etc. We put our house up for sale November 2018 and to.d everyone about the £108.00 charge because that was all we paid. Yet, when we sold we were told we had to pay a charge of transfer fee of £364.00 or we could not sell the property. 3 weeks before completion out buyers pulled out, then it happened again May 2019 why?? Our house is lovely, just 7 years old….oh, but whoever buys it has to pay a management fee to buy it at £600.
    What for. ?? We have the title deeds and it’s not anywhere to be seen?? People use the road and grassland etc and we have to lay the upkeep and full council tax. Got in contact with HLM Management company and they said its in the pack! What pack we purchased from NEW and no pack was given?? We are so upset. There’s no one to complain to. The only person you can contact is your own solicitor. This management is faceless. We cannot even ring them as they don’t accept incoming calls. Our house is up for sale but we have little chance of selling it…
    Nightmare!!

  390. SimonSimon

    Cary,
    It is a lot more involved than the council’s refusing to adopt them, the developer has to do certain things first before the council will ” take on ” any estate, they demand that the roads and pavement are up to adoptable standards….. sounds simple but not so, this means they have to be a certain width and built to a certain quality, well how is this in the interests of the developer ? It’s not, they have to spend more money to make them this way and of course they also have to pay a lump sum to the council for them to adopt them….. again why would they do this ? Oh and lets not forget that if they do build them to below adoptable standards then the roads will not be as wide along with the pavement, what advantage would this have for the developer….. more houses can be built on the same plot of land ! Not so easy is it, and the final cherry on the cake is that they then get to sell the ongoing fees to a 3rd party for a pretty sum. Welcome to 21st housing. Also remember that the fees now will not stay the same they will certainly increase and that increase could be up to anything they say, its open ended and that is something i would never sign up for, its your money and your choice but i do believe that going forward there could be a two tier system in terms of housing which is for sale on the ‘used ‘ market, those like mine which are true freehold and no estate fees (the council own the land outside my driveway) and those private estates that have sprung up over the past 15 years or so where you pay full council tax and a sum of cash on top which is unregulated, which would you choose to buy ? This is a time bomb and i would not put myself in the line of fire.

  391. carycary

    I believe there is a bill being passed through regarding more governing around this issue but I believe this is not enough to impose caps and quality of service. We shouldn’t be charged anything until the estate is 100% complete. I think the councils should not get away with their involvement in this, it was them in the first place refusing to adopt and maintain these new estates that caused this issue so they should reduce the council tax charge to those paying estate fees if they dont want to maintain them, they can’t have their cake and eat it! We’re about to purchase a property with a fee of £338 PA!!! theres only 51 houses on the estate the costs are extortionate it is making me think twice about it all and now my my solicitor is telling me they may want a whole years worth upfront for a period I never lived there! Please can a new petition be created and passed around all social media sites this is daylight robbery.

  392. SimonSimon

    Roshni – To be fair to the council it’s not they who need to sort out anything, its the developers themselves, its they who do not have to build the estates to an adoptable standard and make a commitment to pay the council to take it over, they also make money when they turn it into a private estate whereby they can charge fees for such things as grass cutting and other such nonsense that the rest of us get done for free. If the public decided enough is enough and did not buy on the new builds then things would start to change, if i were a developer i would probably do the same, also remember that whatever they say the fee is now, there is zero guarantee that it will stay this way in the future ! Its an open wallet i am afraid, my house is true freehold and the land directly outside my driveway is owned and maintained by the council, i will never buy anything else, think very carefully if this is what you want.

  393. RoshniRoshni

    I am looking to purchase a new build and being told I will have to pay £150 per annum for the maintenance of greenery which I have no control over. I have been told that the land will also be used by members of the public and not just residents in the new builds – this is so unfair.
    I will still also pay council tax – so essentially I am paying twice as much!
    I am not happy and the council needs to sort this out!!

  394. Raj AroraRaj Arora

    I would be happy to sign a new petition. Something needs to be done and awareness raised about this, as there will be many more homeowners in this situation who are unhappily putting up with their situation.

  395. AgsAgs

    Please start another petition! We need this

  396. SimonSimon

    Jackie – So they want you to pay them from new and the other management company also ? Have they stated what this charge is for …. grass cutting etc and do you have a copy of your deeds which they say this due payment is mentioned in ? The first port of call is to get your hands on a copy of your deeds to find out what they are talking about. If your house is freehold and they are in the deeds then i am afraid there is little redress in terms of challenging it, if your leasehold then there is something in law which allows you to question the fees/service etc. I am guessing that if you have now been contacted by them then the others on the estate will have been also. I am not sure but if the estate has recently been totally finished it may be a charge for services which are now been levied …… to be honest with private estate it could be anything and although it will probably be in the deeds these clauses were often missed at the time of buying by all parties (expect the developer of course), first course of action to look over the deeds and if its not obvious then get them to show you where this mystery clause is which allows a charge. Good luck.

  397. JackieJackie

    We bought a new build 4 years ago and told we would have to pay the management company, which we do . But yesterday out of the blue we heard from another management company that said we need to pay them as well as it is in our deeds, but nobody living on the estate has heard of them before yesterday.

  398. SimonSimon

    Wow Margaret, your post just goes to show that when you purchase a freehold house on a private estate the issues in the future can not be foreseen, but can be very expensive. I understand how frustrating dealing with committee’s can be as i have other BTL properties and i am on a management team for them, trying to get others to see things as they are can be very difficult. I wish you luck for the 25th but i suspect that more expert legal advice will be required and that of course is not cheap.

  399. Margaret EvansMargaret Evans

    Bought new build house when 100 dwellings 50% occupied from Property Developer March 2015 Condition of Purchase to sign Deed of Covenant paying fee £120p.a for Management Company (registered Company Act 2006} nominally elected by membership to manage public expensively furnished play area plus public Open Space and manage property to benefit Members.Developers obtained Planning Agreement subject to a number of conditions one of which is surface water drainage, the present problem which surface Feb 2018 although known to Man. Committee (Minutes) June 2016..
    Members told part(if not all) of surface water on Estate which drained via a Tank was not
    adopted by Wessex Water when they adopted the sewage drainage due to faults in the Tank which had been cleaned and inspected by Developer, our Chair plus an independent expert . It was now proposed to adopt the tank and associated drains to be administered by the Management Company charging via an extended s106{no control of price or competence) to be put to a majority vote at AGM 5.4.1920. I asked Wessex Water if remedied would W.W. adopt. Told not cost effective to remedy even if possible. To my relief 1.4.19 Chair notified members proposal for AGM was postponed as expert information received, a Formal Report
    awaited. A poorly attended AGM of sycophants were told of 4 conduits to Tank 3 were useless and 1 missing and floor of tank was permeable. There was a unanimous minus one vote at the AGM to return the existing Directors Developer and Directors incompetent not to have known why W.W. refused to adopt.
    My problem is not being able to get any support: a like minded Residents Association would help, no one trusts me as much as they trust the Management Company, until some disastrous decision is made which affects the value of their property.
    I have contacted my Home Insurance Legal Adviser whose Receptionist will not accept my case until I produce my Conveyance Solicitors confirmation of what I knew on Purchase
    The Conveyancers will not admit to losing the information,(I have my copy File) they refused by stone walling and evasions and after my allegation of loss, still have not produced the confirmation I need. I will have to contact the Legal Adviser again and ask them to contact the Firm. If I do not get legal help from that source I will take up your invitation to join HOA.
    Present possible avenues :i) Legal Advice on Developer’s responsibility for construction of the surface water drainage system.ii) Registrar of Companies Act 2006 under Part 30 s 994 Protection of Members; s.170 -177 Responsibilities of Directors,N.B. info. needed on system used for submitting evidence for investigation by Registrar iii) Determination of Application for Planning Agreement para 8 standard of surface water drainage needed and sustained. Representation is made by Management Company on behalf of Members to Planning Officer p what would have happened had there been no late intervention at the AGM? I would not have signed a Deed of Covenant and would not have paid would I be compelled to pay a Deed of
    Covenant I voted against?. N.B. I note your section ‘How has this happened’:District Council obtained substantial gains in benefits for Parish Council, Town Council plus a cctv system for Police instead of Puffin Crossing lobbied or by Speed Watch . Perhaps Developer dragging his feet and under an Enforcement Order is looking for the pay off time.
    P.S. have downloaded copies your ‘Problems facing freeholders on new developments’ to try and spread authoritative information and gain some understanding of the reality of the vested interests affecting freeholders. Hope publicity is O.K.?
    There is a Monthly Meeting of Management Company Thursday 25.4.19 I’ll put copies on the table around which they meet. Should prove interesting.

  400. BloodstainBloodstain

    We purchased a freehold 3bed detached house on a new estate in East Kent in 2005. It was intimated that when the developers had completed their work, we would be subject, by covenant, to a Management Fee, payable to a residential management company at £80 pa.
    The estate was completed 18 months later and the first annual bill arrived for £180. Residents of the 200+ homes not happy!
    We investigated Company Law, etc. We formed a very effective Residents Association. We got residential volunteers to stand as directors of our specific management company. We called for an Extraordinary General Meeting of the company and voted the standing directors (who had been appointed by the overarching large company appointed by the developers)out.
    The result was that we now look after our own Management Company and appoint a gardener (a local one – not from 200 miles away!), a solicitor to deal with transfers and we collect the annual charges ourselves. Anyone declining to pay cannot sell their home until the debt is paid so we have v. few debtors.
    We still charge less that £80 pa, and that is after 14 years. Heavens above knows what we would be paying if the original company had still been in charge.
    I will leave my details on the Contact page of this site.
    It needs organising and the support of all the freeholders, but it was worth it. We have saved £1000’s.

  401. SimonSimon

    Well done Frances you have done what i did and pulled out before it was too late, many don’t see the issue until they have signed on the dotted line and are effectively trapped with all the future issues with the sale of their house, as more people understand the problem then it will become increasingly difficult to sell on houses which are on such ‘ private ‘ estates, and even though they are technically freehold in the fact the land the house sits on is theirs they still have financial commitments for land outside of their property. I can see there being a two tier market for used houses in the future with ‘ private ‘ estate properties being worth less than those of us who pay nothing more than council tax to live where they call home, as an aside, if on these estates something more than the cutting of grass is needed who then pays…. lets say a new pumping station is needed (which in time it will be needed) the costs could runs into the 10’s of thousands, the residents pay for that, a sink hole, fly tipping, the list could go on, its a time-bomb.

  402. Frances MorrisFrances Morris

    We have also just pulled out of a new property sale due to this issue – It is utterly shocking that this is allowed to happen to hard working people. The government, house builders and management companies are all letting people down and giving the industry a bad name, let alone fleecing people who have spent years working hard to make it onto the property ladder. Help to Buy incentives which are encouraging people to commit to these schemes could also be seen as encouraging this type of conduct and set up.

    More worryingly, limited companies are being set up as management companies for individual development with named directors who have Positions of Significant Control (PSC) who are from the management companies themselves. They will be very difficult to remove into the future, even when legislation comes in because they are imbedded within the residents management companies and these individuals have more rights than other members and directors. The properties are being marketed as freehold but they are essentially a leasehold to the communal areas – it’s utterly disgusting and seriously letting people down. Thank you for your article, we are two of the lucky ones who have, for now, managed to avoid this scandal. We are very much looking forward to this being governed and monitored by a trustworthy source.

  403. Nadine WilliamsNadine Williams

    The petition of 6.1.19 which has been rejected needs resubmitting with more content. The outline has been made with the issue but no solution has been provided as to what is required. Can anyone resubmit? May need to state the fees need to be capped or raised with inflation only. This would prevent the service being sold on for ridiculous charges
    Then the petition needs to be circulated on social media to get the 10000;signatures

  404. Robert DoggettRobert Doggett

    Have just canceled my forthcoming purchase of a new property in Kingswood Hull after reading about this service charge on the paper i signed during the reservation.
    And after googliing this find a mine field hopefully about to erupt, this is not right, if you buy freehold you expect freehold and not to have to pay a service fee to upkeep or access the estate or any area of the estate your house is on unless of course the estate is private and gated with security. I would advise anyone in a similar position to do the same as myself and make it known.

    • Marianne ColeMarianne Cole

      Thanks Robert for your comment. Sorry to hear you have had to cancel. We are campaigning on issues such as this and unfortunately we do hear of situations like yours quite often. Glad that you were able to spot it.

  405. SimonSimon

    Hi Charles,
    As stated check the purchase contract but i suspect that what they say will be correct and that any future monies will be payable to them, if the property is freehold then at the moment there is no legislation which allows you to challenge the charges, this is being discussed by the govt at present. The builder/developer has (in simple terms) sold on the upkeep of the grounds to a company who will likely take a lot and do nothing, this has become a sadly familiar story with new developments and is just another money making scheme which is taking over from the leasehold cash cow.

  406. charles leybergcharles leyberg

    Fascinated by all this as the freehold owner of a new home on a modern development. The builders took money from us at the time of purchase for ground maintenance of the open spaces but over the past two years have done little or nothing with that money. We have now heard from a management company (not from the builders themselves) who say they have been assigned the responsibility for this maintenance and they will be asking us for more money in due course for any work done. My question is whether there is privity of contract between us and the management company and if so how has this come about? If we refused to pay them what legally has conferred on them the right to sue us for the money. Anyone know the answer to this? Many thanks.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Charles, your first port of call will be to check your purchase contract and to see what it says about service charges being payable to a management company.

  407. Darren DuttonDarren Dutton

    We bought a new build REDROW freehold on an estate in Crewe. there is a smaill childs park about 13ft by 13ft. there are about 80 houses on the estate and each one has to pay almost £1000 a year now this has doubled each year we have been there! the management compant is FIRST PORT such a bad company in every way. (google them and see their ratings). The company has broke theire contract lots…they are supposed to clean and cut the grass in this area every month and this has not happened, I took pictures and sent them the proof as the grass was grown to about 3ft high and the same rubish was there in each picture. They didnt care and said we have to pay and had the cheek to charge us £60 for each letter they wrote to us! This should be against the law surely?? if I hired a gardner to do my garden each month and he didnt turn up for 3 months on the run I would not employ him any longer. If my internet keeps going slow and it is not fixed even though I am in a 18 month contract I can legally leave as the Company is not fulfilling their contract. Please tell me anyone why is this not the same for a management company?

    Darren

  408. Stephen NevilleStephen Neville

    I live on a new development in East Sussex. It has an adjacent 7 Ha publicly accessible open space, storm water ponds and woodland. However the developers will be responsible for it for 12 years. As of March 2019 they have done no maintenance and I’ve taken it upon myself to clear and tidy the area near my house. Our contention are the separate common parts of the estate itself (total area including the houses of 2 Ha) for which the appointed management company has done very little (other than cut the grass a few times). However as owners we each are members of the registered management company and entitled to elect directors to the board. The challenge is to force the adoption of a Transfer Date now that the estate is complete. Then as I understand it becomes the residents own private estate. We own and control the lot! At least that how we think it should work.

  409. Mrs. ChandlerMrs. Chandler

    When I agreed to purchase a retirement apartment the landlord owned the freehold. I now find that he sold the freehold BEFORE my purchase was completed. Any right to first refusal was negated by that.. That is the same for all owners here.

  410. Damian jonesDamian jones

    I’ve gone to sign the petition link and it appears that the petition on the 6th of January 2019 has been rejected therefore could anybody tell me or inform me if any additional petition has since been adapted or looked into. We to have issues with this property managment rip-off scheme on our new estate in Bodmin in Cornwall the only solution I can see at the minute is this will be in the next 5 to 10 years the next PPI scandal where we have to try to recover and recuperate our money from these rip-off merchants ! I hope somebody can point me in the right direction with regards to a petition kind regards Damian

    • Chandni SahniChandni Sahni

      Hello Damian, thank you for your message. Yes, unfortunately that petition has now closed but it is great that you want to do something about it. If you follow this link it will help you to start your own petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/check

  411. SimonSimon

    Hi Paul,

    Sorry to hear about your issues, is your house leasehold or freehold ? It does matter in terms of any challenge to the monies being asked for and the work they say they have done, also how do you know they have not ” adopted ” the first pond ? If they are the nominated maint company then why would they not look after it all ? How do you know they are not looking after the first pond. Their reply regarding legal action is fairly standard fare i am afraid, the bully tactics do tend to work so they carry on using them, i would also advise you raise this with your MP as there are steps being taken in Westminster to attempt to get a grip on this type of sharp practice.

  412. PaulPaul

    Hi, I’m looking for some advice.

    We have a company maintaining the grounds around our estate. We moved in two years ago and paid a fee upfront as part of the purchase. There are 4 areas to the maintenance agreement, one large park area and balancing pond, a second balancing pond and a small bicycle path no more than 10 – 15 metres long.

    The maintenance company have only adopted the second balancing pond and small bicycle path, the park is still a work in progress (two years later). Yet the company are asking for the full amount paid each year.

    I regularly walk through the areas and I haven’t been happy with their service, I’ve kept photographs of shrubbery growing across the paths and long grass. This stayed the same for a period of 6-8 weeks end of last year.

    I’ve refused to pay the full amount, and I’ve offered a reduced payment, explaining that A) they are only looking after around a third of the area they should be, and B) the service provided isn’t good enough in my opinion.

    I have been told they are very happy with their own service, they regularly inspect and want me to send my photographs to them, but within days of me receiving their email reply I started getting letters saying they have added a fine and will be taking me to court if it isn’t paid in 10 days.

    Which is the best route, Solicitor or Citizen’s advice? I’m not sure how this should be approached now as trying to talk to them isn’t working.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Paul, sorry to read about this situation. As a first step, contact LEASE where you can book a free call for initial advice to understand your rights in challenging these service charges. https://www.lease-advice.org/ If, after taking advantage of the free advice, you need some more, tailored advice, please do consider joining us as a member.

  413. Kristian SmithKristian Smith

    Thanks so much, Sara.

    Is it legally possible to purchase without the contractual commitment to the green spaces?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Kristian, this is a difficult question for us to answer on this platform with limited information. Please consider becoming a member and our membership team could get more detail from you and look in to this further for you.

  414. Kristian SmithKristian Smith

    Is it possible for a conveyancing solicitor to negotiate out of the Management Charge, given the land is not part owned under the feeehold but indeed common space owned by the building company.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Kristian, we always recommend that when purchasing a property on a new development that you find your own conveyancer who you can be sure will look after your interests without the risk of a conflict of interest that could arise if using the conveyancing firm recommended by the developer.

  415. Kristian SmithKristian Smith

    I’ve begun a new petition, would anybody be happy to support it?

    Click this link to sign the petition:
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/236597/sponsors/new?token=TtKuWLGv23afijT1HFA

    My petition:

    Amend Section 106 Agreements to planning permission for New Build Estates

    Section 106 Agreements relate to negotiations between developers and planning authorities which too frequently leave homeowners in a position where they are forced to pay for open space which is not their property and over which they have no influence.

    Most new build estates now carry management charges on freehold properties. This means homeowners pay full council tax and also management charges. Planning permission has often been granted with the council relinquishing responsibility for adopting certain open communal spaces. The charges cover the maintenance of these. These charges are not yet regulated and whilst published charges may be given upon purchase, these could escalate. There is also limited avenues of recourse.

  416. SyeSye

    Are management companies still required by law to include a Summary Of Rights with an estate service charge payment request?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      In England, a Summary of Tenants’ Rights and Obligations, which briefly sets out your rights and obligations in relation to variable service charges, must by law accompany a demand for service charges.

  417. AnonymousAnonymous

    Great work. Question. We bought a house 13 years ago on an estate. They have had a management company since it was built 38 years ago.

    The estate has been adopted by the council ages ago … before we moved in … and the council maintain the roads, drains, ligts and cut grass on any verges.

    The 250 a year charge (from about 1000 houses) goes solely to fund a residents club (apparently the developer could not build houses here or some rubbish).

    The club is its own registered business with sports facilities and suites for hire, and 2e have no say in how its govermed and get treated badly when weve been because we are not part of the in crowd (which features a lot of non residents!).

    Can they still demand fees 38 years after an estate was built, purely to maintain a clubhouse we cant use? Can i challenge or extricate this charge from the deeds?

  418. F EF E'Gruber

    Keep up the good work. Thank you.

  419. Stockley MartinStockley Martin

    Thanks Sara
    Martin

  420. Martin StockleyMartin Stockley

    Read your article on Management fees with interest. We are on a new estate (freehold) and there are open spaces maintained at our expense by an Estate Management Company (ie managing agents). Part of the open space is a large ‘biodiversity area’ ownership of which is about to be transferred from the developers to the Management Company – that’s us, the residents, not the managing agents who carry out the maintenance; the residents will all be directors of the Management Company. If we the residents jointly own the land and pay for its maintenance, can we insist that it is not for the use of the public at large (there are already dog walkers from elsewhere and teenagers sussing it out)?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Martin, you’ll need to ask the property lawyer who is acting on the purchase to review the title carefully (as they should do in every case). Increasingly land that appears to be “public” (in terms of accessibility) is actually privately owned – but it may only be at the point at which there are problems caused by those who are accessing it (i.e. anti social behaviour) that the owners may be entitled to do something about it.

  421. Sarah BainesSarah Baines

    We recently bought a new build and the service charge of £200 per year is about to kick in. Looking at what they actually maintain vs how much they charge everyone is eye watering. Our house is freehold as are (I understand) the roads, but there is a little play area and a fence managed by the company. At first we thought it was an ok idea as we can guarantee the maintenance of the area. But now I am starting to panic. I don’t u understand why the local council can’t maintain such a tiny area… keen to get involved in a petition etc if someone will have power to change it

    • Marianne ColeMarianne Cole

      Thanks Sarah. We do continue to campaign on the Management of shared open spaces on new build estates as often councils don’t adopt them, and it is difficult to challenge these charges. If you want to take advantage of our membership services and discounts please consider joining HOA https://hoa.org.uk/homeowners-alliance-membership/ or you can become a campaign member for just £12 for the year. Otherwise, continue or read more about our campaigns on our website https://hoa.org.uk/campaigns/

  422. SimonSimon

    Ref the post by Rebnic – I would suggest that before you purchase to ask
    someone who does not have an interest in selling you a house to look at the
    contract to ensure you are fully aware what you ‘could’ be paying in the future,
    remember it is totally open ended, the parish fund ! God knows what that is.
    If the house is Freehold then you have fewer rights than if it was leasehold, odd
    i know but true. The sale of new build private estates is akin to the ancient
    Sirens who lured unsuspecting sailors onto the rocks. Be careful.

  423. Cathy PCathy P

    If you are outraged by this whole estate charge rip off, please the HorNet campaign for compulsory adoption. Write to your MP – lots of people are doing this and the pressure is building for change. A 10 minute rule bill is shortly (Mov 14th) being tabled about estate charges which is expected to raise awareness of the issue. This could be the first step towards protecting home owners on privately owned estates.

  424. RebnicRebnic

    Just about to purchase a new build with help to buy freehold Miller homes. And whilst reserving today found a small box on the paperwork stating service charge. ‘Bigwood’ estimated cost 140 per year?! After reading all this I am scared!! And nervous!! I was told you could always choose another management company if your not happy if all other residents agree?! But after reading this I don’t think this is the case. This petition needs more marketing and restarting. This could be a real big problem due to the number of new houses being built at the moment. May I also add that the council tax is high and I’m also paying into a parish fund as well! Where does it stop. If the residents are paying for these areas they should be gated for our use only!! So upset!! Should I pull out. The government should not allow this to go on!!

  425. SimonSimon

    I have now written to my MP regarding this utter nonsense and asked her to campaign about this. I may have been lucky and not purchased a new build but my children now have fewer options when they come to buy and help to buy has increased prices of all property. We must also remember that it’s not just about half yearly fees payable on the new build estates that are not due from other home owners, there is a real risk of serious financial pain, let us remember that the new build housing developments are ‘ private’ and anything that happens on them is the responsibility of the home owners…… how about the arrival of the travelling community on the open green land, fly tipping….. sink holes….. etc, who do you think pays to sort this out, not the council that is for sure. This is like an open wound and the new buyers are being sold a pup, I see no reason other than profit why a developer would keep the estate private and not have it adopted. What a shambles.

  426. Anna FinlasonAnna Finlason

    We own a freehold home and have been paying management fees for the past 12 years to maintain Aqua cells (to collect water in case of flood – fortunately, we were some of the luckier ones as the land was eventually adopted by the local authority). Whilst the charge is reasonable for this maintenance the costs to maintain the cells, including the companies insurance etc, far exceeds the actual costs to the company , i am extremely frustrated also now, since needing to alter our title deeds that I am required to pay money to the management. Company as they are tied into our deeds with a restriction.
    it seems as if the management companies are in place to simply make money for providing very little service and creating more legal hoops to jump through. Management companies have clients in a sort of headlock (charging prices to create deeds of covenants and compliance certificates When changes are required or a property is sold).
    I am so disappointed and frustrated that these created companies are making money whilst providing very little (I recognise my situation is slightly different with the aqua cells (although charges are far too high to maintain them) but for those paying fees for public spaces? It’s a travesty.

  427. Mrs ClarkeMrs Clarke

    I have just seen that HorNet’s petition was only open for 6 months. I have only just moved to a new build and am having difficulty with the management charges because they don’t have to tell us what they are spending our money on. I now understand what the hoohar was all about because I want to do something about it all. Can another petition be started? Can I start a petition? Who starts these petitions so that the Government will take us seriously? We need far more than the 1100 or so that did sign and I think that was only because people do not know about it. The estimate of it affecting around 1/2 million is probably an under-estimate now, given the amount of building going on in the UK and it is just a licence for unscrupulous people to print money. It has to be stopped. Look forward to hearing from anyone that can help.

    • Chandni SahniChandni Sahni

      Hello Mrs Clarke, thank you for your message! Sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing but it is great that you want to do something about it. If you follow this link it will help you to start your own petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/check

  428. Simon CorkhillSimon Corkhill

    This is a dreadful situation and they should be brought to account. My son bought a discounted new build 2 bed house through the help to buy scheme. It was discounted by 30% and when sold in the future he will sell for 30% less than the normal valuation price . not only did it cost more to buy as he had to use the recommended solicitor/building society his mortgage interest rate was higher his legal fees cost more and now he has just had the first management bill through for development maintenance service fees £400.00. How on earth are first time buyers on low income suppose to manage ? I thought the government were helping young people to get on the ladder not fall straight off it.

  429. Maurice EtheringtonMaurice Etherington

    This is happening on the estate where I live in Sleaford, no cooperation from the management company, total disregard for home owners , and now they have employed another company to collect the fees.There have been three so called landscape companies used in the last 12 months all rubbish but nothing is done about it. I have taken the matter up with the local M P.

  430. I.ShepherdI.Shepherd

    You Should look at Hopkins Homes Norfolk!!!! Watton

  431. Lizzie WoolfendenLizzie Woolfenden

    The admin costs on our Redrow Development in Bideford are £15k. The cost of the contract for actually doing the grass and hedge cutting is £8,800. How can this be legal?

  432. SimonSimon

    I have had an interest in this unfolding disaster since i ‘ missed a bullet’ when
    i pulled out of buying a leasehold house (with svc charges) on a new build, thank
    god i did, i now own a freehold house with the land outside my house maintained
    by the local authority. This is an utter scandal and i can see a time in the very near future when there will be two types of properties for sale, those with ongoing charges
    payable to 3rd parties and those like mine which are free of such restrictions, i can
    see the values of the former being worth a lot less, it is totally unfair and these
    homeowners are being hung out to dry by this govt who are too busy doing bugger
    all about Brexit. God help them when it comes time to sell.

  433. puvanpuvan

    Personally, i feel that the management fee is unacceptable and authorities discriminates new home buyer. The council should reduces the council tax to match the extra estate charge for new build home as long as they are expecting new home buyers to maintain their surroundings.

  434. ZacZac

    I am really stressed about the same issue, i am in the same situation now.

    I paid the agreed amount, now they’ve sent me another letter asking for more money because there is a deficit on the account. I really do not have the money to pay this bogus service charge anymore. Is there a way round this? I am absolutely fuming because they haven’t done anything on the estate that warrant the charges. This is breaking many family up. Any advice will be appreciated.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Zac, please consider becoming a member, you’ll have access to our Home Helpline team and a free legal call should you need it.

  435. Mike DrewMike Drew

    I am a Councillor on South Gloucestershire Council serving on one of its development control committees. I am also,a Councillor on Yate Town Council which manages play areas and open spaces in the Town.

    I and Yate Town Council believe that all the open spaces and play areas in the Town should be managed by the Town Council including the new developments. I argue for this at Development Control however the Planning Officers say that we can not impose a condition for the developers to hand them over to the Town Council – the majority accept this “advice”.

    I would be grateful if you can give me any legal advice on the issue.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Mike, if you wanted to consider taking out a membership with us, one of the benefits would be a free legal call.

  436. Liv LeeLiv Lee

    This is a HUGE scandal waiting to burst into the mainstream.

    It affects hundreds of thousands of families in the UK!

    This story WILL be even bigger than PPI when it all becomes common knowledge.

  437. AgaAga

    How is it even possible and why no one is doing anything about it, not fair trapping people into unavoidable, increasing charges. People fall for small service charge at first, but in fact they are not in any way protected from increase or have no way of challenging the fee, if you are freeholder.

  438. Andrew SmithAndrew Smith

    Yes. This happens.

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