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SickofRenting

Rentcharge - What Is It And Who Pays?

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Ok, I sort of know what a rentcharge is - something to do with the property I am currently a tenant in is a leasehold property (I think) which pays whoever (the lease holder??) a tiny ammount annually - right??

Right, I have been a tenant in the place I'm in now for 5 years. A few months ago out of the blue I got a letter addressed to the 'occupier' a demand from a solicitor to pay a rentcharge of £50 which haven't been paid since 2005 and at the bottom is a comment that the owner of the property would need to pay and I need to pass the letter to them.

I don't know the address nor have any contact of the property owners. I re-sealed the letter and on the envolope I wrote 'return to sender' and 'I do not know the address of the owners'.

4 days ago I got repeated demand letter then on saturday I got a letter threatening legal action with county court thingy if I dont pay with 14 days irrespective of whether I'm the owner of the property. Since I don't know the address of the owners should I send the letters to the letting agents?

Can they really do that? And why should I do the solicitors monkey work to find the address and send the owners the letter at my expense?

I'm not going to pay cos' I don't believe I should, even if they damanded a penny. Its not in my tennancy agreement.

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The address of the owners is on your tenancy contract surely?

You are certainly not responsible for paying so I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.. Passing on the letter to the letting agents is probably the best course of action.

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You are right not to pay this.

The rentcharge, or ground rent is payable by the owner of a leasehold estate to the owner of the freehold. From what you have said, it sounds like your landlord is liable to pay this, but I would check your tenancy agreement to make sure that they have not sneakily included a clause where you agree to pay it.

While you should know the details for your landlord, this solicitor should be able to look them up easily enough. A quick search at the land registry will give them the registered owner of the leasehold. They'd rather you told them, though because then they don't have to pay for the search.

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I have thought about this a bit more and I think you can safely disregard what I said about checking your tenancy agreement.

No leasehold owner in their right mind would want their tenant to be liable for paying ground rent. The reason being that failure to pay ground rent is a breach of covenant on the leasehold estate and entitles the freeholder to revoke the lease. Obviously, this would have serious consequences so the leasehold owner will want to keep responsibility for paying ground rent and just include that as one of their costs of ownership.

So, you need to pass this on to the leasehold owners (your landlord). Their address will be in your tenancy agreement and if it isn't you are under no obligation to pay them rent. See here for a brief explanation why.

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Hi, thanks for the replies.

Just read through the tenancy agreement - there is the property owners name but no address, just the letting agent's address. There is nothing about rentcharge in it.

It's all done through the letting agent. I'll give my letting agent a bell to get them to contact the solicitors and then they can sort it out amongst themselves - d'you think that will work?

Edit: forgot an 's

Edited by SickofRenting

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Yes, or just send the rentcharge notice to the letting agent and they will pass it on.

A letting agent's address is very common in a tenancy agreement. There is no requirement for it to be the landlord's personal address, just one where notices may be served.

Ah the joys of renting... SEP (Someone Else's Problem)

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Pass the letter on to the agent. I would also contact the solicitor to say you have no intention of paying or remaining involved; any correspondence for the owner should be sent to the agent. Tell them you will not be forwarding any subsequent letters on their behalf and that any correspondence will go straight in the bin.

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I do not think you can legally do that, T thought that mail is the property of the queen until it is delivered to the addressee. I would just return corrospodence to them - not here!

The correspondence is being addressed to the OP; perhaps that wasn't clear.

If the Queen feels strongly about my methods of dealing with unwanted post, she's welcome to drop by to take out my bins.

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I do not think you can legally do that, T thought that mail is the property of the queen until it is delivered to the addressee. I would just return corrospodence to them - not here!

I thought the mail is a legal responsibility of the Royal Mail (owned by the queen??) that it is delivered to the address not the addressee (the named occupants) - I could be wrong but that is what the Royal Mail website said.

Linky winky:

http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/jump3?c...ediaId=15400365

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An update:

Over the weekend I sent an email to the solicitors stating I can't help them as I do not know the address of the property owners and I said they will need to contact my letting agents and find the owners them selves (I gave them the letting agents name). I witheld my name.

This is the their response:

Thank you for your e-mail. As it states in every reminder that we send, if you rent the property please pass to the property owner for payment. As we do not have the owners address only the property address it is your responsibility to make sure its passed on to them, albeit through the letting agency.

Er... is it my responsibilty to pass letters to the correct persons, hmm really ;) ??

This is my response:

No, I have no intention of getting involved nor incurring my time and expense passing your letters on. You will need to send any future correspondents to the letting agents I mentioned - It is YOUR responsibility to send it to the correct addressee, not mine. As I said you will need to find the property owners yourself.

Regards.

Do you think I'm being a complete tight fisted awkward d*ckhed?

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Whilst the solicitors are wrong to assert that you owe their client a duty to pass the letter on, I think you ought to check your tenancy agreement to make sure there is no obligation imposed on you to pass on to the landlord or the agent any notices received in respect of the property. Even in the absence of such an obligation, is it not the thing to do?

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Do you think I'm being a complete tight fisted awkward d*ckhed?

No, you've been more than fair, and you have made your entirely-justified position very clear. What's more, you've completely covered yourself by stating that you have no idea where the landlord is.

Get on with life and forget about it. It's just some lazy PA who cannot be bothered to depart from the script...

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Just send the solicitor a list of your hourly rate for forwarding mail and including a handling charge and minimum order quantity. I would say £100/ hr, minimum period 30 minutes and handling charge of £20 would be about reasonable for an irritating solicitor. Tell them that you assume that they will be happy with this unless you receive a response stating that forwarding of their mail is not required.

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An update:

Over the weekend I sent an email to the solicitors stating I can't help them as I do not know the address of the property owners and I said they will need to contact my letting agents and find the owners them selves (I gave them the letting agents name). I witheld my name.

This is the their response:

Thank you for your e-mail. As it states in every reminder that we send, if you rent the property please pass to the property owner for payment. As we do not have the owners address only the property address it is your responsibility to make sure its passed on to them, albeit through the letting agency.

Er... is it my responsibilty to pass letters to the correct persons, hmm really ;) ??

This is my response:

No, I have no intention of getting involved nor incurring my time and expense passing your letters on. You will need to send any future correspondents to the letting agents I mentioned - It is YOUR responsibility to send it to the correct addressee, not mine. As I said you will need to find the property owners yourself.

Regards.

Do you think I'm being a complete tight fisted awkward d*ckhed?

Your first email was fine and I wouldn't have even replied to the second one. The solicitors must be idiots as to all intents and purposes the letting agent IS the landlord especially as they didn't put the landlords address on your agreement (although to be fair it wasn't common 5 years ago).

It is a legal requirement for the letting agent to provide you with the landlords address should this be requested by you.

You have done your duty and I wouldn't waste any more time on it. It's also a requirement of any mortgage that any ground rents are paid up to date. If he's simply forgotten then the agent will remind him but if he's trying to avoid paying it then they'll catch up with him.

It's all a waste of time and paper really as the solicitors bill will probably be bigger than the ground rent.

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