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Problems facing freeholders on new developments

There are new problems facing freeholders. We take a closer look at the issue and learn how a new network established by homeowners is campaigning for change.

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. The new problems facing freeholders are estimated to affect at least half a million homes in the UK.

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 in a sort of legalised bribery. 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.

If you agree the government should step in and at least put in some form of regulation and alternative dispute resolution, then please sign HorNet’s petition

If you are in a similar situation, learn more about service charges in our guide. Become a member of HomeOwners Alliance for extra support and to help us campaign for better regulation of this area. 

With thanks to HorNet for contributing to this article.

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  1. 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!

    Comment by Julia John — September 18, 2019 @ 12:40 pm

  2. 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.

    Comment by Mol — September 18, 2019 @ 1:00 am

  3. 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.

    Comment by Simon — September 16, 2019 @ 2:26 pm

  4. 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.

    Comment by Christine Flynn — September 16, 2019 @ 11:24 am

  5. 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

    Comment by Simon — September 13, 2019 @ 10:05 pm

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

    Comment by John Michael — September 13, 2019 @ 4:03 am

  7. 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.

    Comment by Simon — August 21, 2019 @ 9:36 pm

  8. 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.

    Comment by AA — August 20, 2019 @ 12:15 pm

  9. 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.

    Comment by AA — August 20, 2019 @ 12:01 pm

  10. 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.

    Comment by Simon — August 5, 2019 @ 7:42 pm

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

    Comment by Ian bacon — August 5, 2019 @ 5:23 pm

  12. 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…….

    Comment by Simon — August 3, 2019 @ 10:42 pm

  13. 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

    Comment by Les — August 3, 2019 @ 10:25 pm

  14. 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/services/join/

    Comment by HomeOwners Alliance — July 29, 2019 @ 10:26 am

  15. 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.

    Comment by Christopher Dunbar — July 28, 2019 @ 10:32 pm

  16. 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

    Comment by Simon — July 21, 2019 @ 7:18 pm

  17. 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.

    Comment by william — July 21, 2019 @ 4:19 pm

  18. Our director won’t even speak to us

    Comment by Barry Challinor — July 16, 2019 @ 3:05 pm

  19. 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.

    Comment by Simon — July 12, 2019 @ 11:32 am

  20. 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.

    Comment by Mike — July 11, 2019 @ 9:06 pm

  21. 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.

    Comment by Simon — July 5, 2019 @ 8:56 am

  22. 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’.

    Comment by Aaron — July 3, 2019 @ 12:41 pm

  23. 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.

    Comment by M v Donnelly — July 2, 2019 @ 5:16 pm

  24. 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 !

    Comment by Simon — June 25, 2019 @ 7:51 pm

  25. 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?

    Comment by Georgia — June 25, 2019 @ 11:10 am

  26. 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.

    Comment by Simon — June 23, 2019 @ 8:12 pm

  27. 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.

    Comment by Craig — June 20, 2019 @ 4:17 pm

  28. 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.

    Comment by Simon — June 19, 2019 @ 8:59 pm

  29. 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…

    Comment by MR & MRS LISTER — June 19, 2019 @ 5:58 pm

  30. 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.

    Comment by Simon — June 15, 2019 @ 2:47 pm

  31. 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.

    Comment by cary — June 9, 2019 @ 10:21 pm

  32. 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.

    Comment by Simon — June 1, 2019 @ 11:45 pm

  33. 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!!

    Comment by Roshni — June 1, 2019 @ 9:38 pm

  34. 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.

    Comment by Raj Arora — May 30, 2019 @ 11:35 am

  35. Please start another petition! We need this

    Comment by Ags — April 29, 2019 @ 11:48 am

  36. 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.

    Comment by Simon — April 28, 2019 @ 10:14 am

  37. 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.

    Comment by Jackie — April 24, 2019 @ 6:52 pm

  38. 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.

    Comment by Simon — April 22, 2019 @ 9:54 pm

  39. 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.

    Comment by Margaret Evans — April 22, 2019 @ 6:44 pm

  40. 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.

    Comment by Bloodstain — April 19, 2019 @ 1:06 pm

  41. 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.

    Comment by Simon — April 10, 2019 @ 10:15 am

  42. 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.

    Comment by Frances Morris — April 3, 2019 @ 10:20 pm

  43. 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

    Comment by Nadine Williams — March 29, 2019 @ 12:06 am

  44. 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.

    Comment by Marianne Cole — March 21, 2019 @ 12:54 pm

  45. 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.

    Comment by Robert Doggett — March 20, 2019 @ 5:37 pm

  46. 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.

    Comment by Simon — March 19, 2019 @ 7:29 pm

  47. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — March 19, 2019 @ 10:05 am

  48. 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.

    Comment by charles leyberg — March 15, 2019 @ 4:54 am

  49. Hello Darren, thanks for getting in touch. I have to say that sounds pretty awful and on the extreme end of issues that we hear of in terms of charges and work not being carried out. Have a read of our guide https://hoa.org.uk/2018/11/need-to-know-before-you-buy-a-home-on-a-new-housing-estate/ We’ll also email you separately.

    Comment by Sara Hind — March 19, 2019 @ 11:36 am

  50. 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?


    Comment by Darren Dutton — March 14, 2019 @ 3:24 pm

  51. 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.

    Comment by Stephen Neville — March 3, 2019 @ 11:18 pm

  52. 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.

    Comment by Mrs. Chandler — February 17, 2019 @ 12:07 pm

  53. 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

    Comment by Chandni Sahni — February 28, 2019 @ 10:34 am

  54. 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

    Comment by Damian jones — February 15, 2019 @ 12:21 pm

  55. 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.

    Comment by Simon — January 30, 2019 @ 4:29 pm

  56. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — January 30, 2019 @ 12:42 pm

  57. 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.

    Comment by Paul — January 28, 2019 @ 10:38 am

  58. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — January 15, 2019 @ 2:58 pm

  59. Thanks so much, Sara.

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

    Comment by Kristian Smith — January 9, 2019 @ 8:24 pm

  60. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — January 7, 2019 @ 1:41 pm

  61. 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.

    Comment by Kristian Smith — January 6, 2019 @ 1:41 am

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

    Click this link to sign the petition:

    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.

    Comment by Kristian Smith — January 6, 2019 @ 1:38 am

  63. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — January 2, 2019 @ 11:55 am

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

    Comment by Sye — January 1, 2019 @ 8:17 pm

  65. Take a look at our article on covenants to see if it helps – https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/restrictive-covenants/

    Comment by Sara Hind — January 2, 2019 @ 11:51 am

  66. 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?

    Comment by Anonymous — January 1, 2019 @ 9:47 am

  67. Keep up the good work. Thank you.

    Comment by F E’Gruber — December 24, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

  68. Thanks Sara

    Comment by Stockley Martin — December 15, 2018 @ 1:40 pm

  69. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — November 27, 2018 @ 12:27 pm

  70. 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)?

    Comment by Martin Stockley — November 25, 2018 @ 2:40 pm

  71. 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/join-us/ 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/

    Comment by Marianne Cole — November 21, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

  72. 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

    Comment by Sarah Baines — November 20, 2018 @ 5:53 pm

  73. 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.

    Comment by Simon — November 19, 2018 @ 8:56 pm

  74. 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.

    Comment by Cathy P — November 13, 2018 @ 6:38 am

  75. 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!!

    Comment by Rebnic — November 4, 2018 @ 3:57 pm

  76. 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.

    Comment by Simon — October 17, 2018 @ 9:46 am

  77. Please can you restart the petition parliament petition. I am certain we could get more signatures via social media

    Comment by Anna Finlason — October 17, 2018 @ 1:07 am

  78. 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.

    Comment by Anna Finlason — October 17, 2018 @ 12:47 am

  79. 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

    Comment by Chandni Sahni — October 23, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

  80. 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.

    Comment by Mrs Clarke — October 16, 2018 @ 10:44 pm

  81. 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.

    Comment by Simon Corkhill — October 15, 2018 @ 11:52 am

  82. 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.

    Comment by Maurice Etherington — October 8, 2018 @ 12:11 am

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

    Comment by I.Shepherd — October 3, 2018 @ 7:34 pm

  84. 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?

    Comment by Lizzie Woolfenden — September 19, 2018 @ 7:08 pm

  85. 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.

    Comment by Simon — September 14, 2018 @ 9:41 pm

  86. 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.

    Comment by puvan — August 31, 2018 @ 8:32 pm

  87. 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.

    Comment by Sara Hind — July 4, 2018 @ 3:37 pm

  88. 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.

    Comment by Zac — July 2, 2018 @ 8:13 pm

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

    Comment by Sara Hind — June 27, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

  90. 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.

    Comment by Mike Drew — June 17, 2018 @ 10:14 pm

  91. 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.

    Comment by Liv Lee — June 5, 2018 @ 1:43 pm

  92. 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.

    Comment by Aga — October 24, 2017 @ 11:02 am

  93. Yes. This happens.

    Comment by Andrew Smith — February 3, 2017 @ 5:16 pm

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