There are only 3 flats in our little block:  we’re on the ground floor and Lovely Neighbours are on the top.  The middle flat was owned by a guy who was also the freeholder, and none of us could get any money out of him for anything, such as general maintenance and repair of wear and  tear.  It’s been really frustrating.

AND we couldn’t understand what the heck the guy was doing.  When we first arrived he had a family renting it, but they left 2 years ago.  He constantly moaned that he never had any money which is why we can’t get any maintenance done … he was unpleasant and told us lies …  but then he proceeded to do precisely nothing with his flat – – didn’t rent it out – and didn’t sell it either.  Probably too tight-fisted to pay an estate agent   

We have a personal interest because several years ago before we came, the dodgy water system in that flat leaked down into our kitchen and brought the ceiling down.  It was completely refurbished which is why it was nice and new when we came to buy it.  

But because he was always cutting costs he didn’t get the pipe mended properly, and we saw some damp patches starting to appear on our ceiling again.  We insisted that the water system to that flat was turned off completely .

So a coupla weeks ago a letter arrived from ‘Court’ labelled Urgent, to him and to ‘any other residents’ so it sort of fell open and we discovered that the mortgage company was going to repossess the flat …

… and today was the day.  So the bailiff and his men rung our doorbell as we had requested (we didn’t want them breaking down the front door as well) and were greeted by a bevy of us all goggle-eyed and fascinated to see what happened next.  We trooped up the  stairs after them and watched  while they drilled the lock open.  Then they went in and we kind of shimmied in after them  to see what damage the leak had done.  Nobody’s going to be able to use the flat until that is well and truly sorted out 

We were heartened to see Lovely Neighbours’ daughter taking an interest.  We know she owns property so if this flat goes up for auction … it would be SO GOOD  to have a responsible owner who would look after it properly and fork out for the general repairs on the block… somebody like her ..   . 

Sadly, we now hear that she isn’t interested … 

Wonder what will happen next 


26 thoughts on “COMETH THE BAILIFF

  1. I had a bad family living near me, their children were always playing around my driveway and screaming and they have just moved…its such bliss now I can go into the garden once more. life has changed completely. they used to scream and jump up and down on a trampoline or bang a ball over and over.
    I hope you get a nice neighbour who will maintain the flat.


  2. What an irresponsible individual.
    Good neighbours are a vital element to quality of life. My parents are now desperately trying to move house because of the perpetually screaming kids next door and the apparent lack of willingness by their parents to even consider it a problem.


    1. I feel very sorry for your parents. We did worry about whether being in a flat would be more difficult than a house, but I’ve come to the conclusion that bad neighbours affect people whatever sort of home they live in – except, as David says, if you’re living in a field with only cows for company 😉


  3. How very frustrating it all sounds….I would hate to have to worry about the flat above affecting mine, that is so unfair! I’m glad he’s gone though and I really REALLY hope you get a decent neighbour or two living above you….I did have to laugh at the letter falling open and all the shimmying in after the bailiffs….you GO girl!!!
    Some people have no consideration whatsobloominever!!!xxx


  4. Yes indeed and that’s the reason the C of E Pensions Board was not keen to buy this flat – they find that leaseholds are trouble. Because there are only 3 flats a proper legal management agreement was not drawn up. Frankly, even if it had been, I am sure we would be no better off as he would simply not have paid anyway. It’s annoying … there’s always a fly in the ointment and we love the flat and love living here, so are prepared to watch what happens. We can’t see at the moment that having the freehold benefits him at all. It brings him in no money. If he wants to sell it then he must first by law contact us through our solicitors and offer it to us. He hasn’t done so. It’s all been very strange, as he’s made no push whatsoever to maximise the flat’s income-generating potential.

    Odd … time will tell.


    1. It would be easy to surmise and probably be wrong about the causes of the flat owner’s malaise. It is interesting that an order is in force to sell the accommodation asset.

      It adds interest to the local daily living round, though I bet you could do without the uncertainty of it all.

      Hope all is happily settled in the near future.


  5. Freeholds are a valuable commodity, which is why the C of E clutched ferociously onto theirs. Ground rent was paid by all their leaseholders of the houses -estates of them – on the land on which a house stood. Harold MacMillan had a housing time bomb on his hands in early post war years, as huge numbers of homes situated on church owned land, nationwide, were simultaneously arriving at the end of their 99 year leases. People were not in a position to fork out for the cost of buying housing by purchasing new leases for the two or three generations of family members who lived in the houses and flats. In addition there was insufficient alternative housing (a familiar story) to offset what was about to happen. As MacMillan was promising to deal with the issue – I don’t recall the details being very young then – his party was voted into government. MacMillan kept his word thereby averting a major social catastrophe.

    It is interesting that the Bailiffs are taking an interest in the apartment above yours. I think it would take a court hearing or two to re-designate a ground freehold, if it were possible to do that. If someone is wanting restitution badly enough, it might happen. My guess is it could be a long drawn out process.

    There’s a lot to be said for not living in leasehold accommodation and shared housing in general. At least what maintenance there is with your property is, is the main, down to you and not shared with the indecisiveness of others In Scotland an apartment owner should share the maintenance requirements of a block of apts. If this is managed by a factor/agent it can work, though the costs may reflect the service; for example,reviewable monthly service charges. Scottish flats are not usually leasehold. Scottish apartment ownership is similar to that which you find in France.


  6. Oh dear. Sounds like my neighbour’s house. They are a charming family but their landlord never pays for anything (including a gas safety certificate, which is a legal requirement).
    When their boiler broke down last week after not having been serviced for 3 years, I advised them that she (the landlord) has to pay. They knew she wouldn’t and ended up paying for it themselves. So even if the law protects tenants, I realist it’s not always easy to enforce it (especially if they can’t get hold of the landlord.
    I wish you luck and hope that he sells.
    However, if he owns the freehold and has got into arrears, it could be that an agency has only taken over until he gets the payments up to date. That is what happened to my neighbours. They wished a new more responsible owner would step in. I do feel for them as there is a housing shortage locally and it’s not easy to find somewhere else.

    Fingers crossed… 😀 xxx


    1. No, the flat has been repossessed. I understand from legal friends that this would have been quite a long process and he would have been aware for some time that this would be the outcome, and it will be involving him in some expense anyway. We suspect the flat will go on the market or to auction perhaps, but it’s been difficult tracking down what happens to the freehold. He sort of offered it to us both – only not properly – it must be done solicitor to solicitor but he wasn’t prepared to pay for that. We had a good chat with our lovely neighbours and we all agreed that buying the freehold would not be to our advantage, because we would still be stuck with him and he still wouldn’t be paying.

      Thanks, Kegs … time will tell.


  7. Oh my … what a time … I live in a Resident Management Company flats and with 24 shareholders [one over flat] it was a nightmare, everyone has a differing opinion and each of them moaning they don’t get their way. I ‘ran’ the whole operation for ten years, dealing with solicitors, county courts, estate agents, reluctant service charge payers, repairs and maintenance issues – got absolutely no help from anyone and bugger all when I said “I quit, sort yourselves out”.

    I hope you get nice lady daughter in that flat *fingers-crossed*


    1. Yes, I remember you did that …you are a star! – with only 3 flats the leases specify that it’s a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that we simply agree a quote and each put in a third. It works for us and Lovely Neighbours but Dirty Harry has always refused, so we don’t get anything done – apart from what we do ourselves with LN and we just split the costs with us. But the big stuff – like repainting the outside – we can’t manage between the two of us, it is just too expensive, needing scaffolding etc … we’ll just have to wait and see. It appears that the freehold will remain with the ex-owner. It’s all a bit weird.


      1. A bit weird indeed. I had to initiate repossession proceedings because a leaseholder had not paid the service charges, this was then taken over by his mortgage people as he had not paid them either. Eventually it went to auction as a leased property and we got all our monies back.

        Your situ is beginning to sound like a technical legal nightmare!!


      2. The estate agents have instructions to sell the property, so we await with interest and some trepidation the outcome … I’m wondering whether we should put the maintenance business on a firmer footing somehow – preferably without having to go to solicitors and make expensive additions to the leases. A bank account needing two out of three signatories? Any advice?


      3. Hmm, things are a little different than here. Here there is a management company who issues the long term [999 years] leases, collects the service charges, handles the maintenance etc, but is also involved with Companies House, HMRC, other regulatory bodies, and the paperwork when a lease is sold/boight when someone moves is a nightmare.

        But yes, something more than a gentleman agreement does need to be put on place, especially of the freehold of the complete building is what is being put up for sale. I would consider looking into a “Residents Association” far less of a rigamarole that a Limited Company.

        Have a look, maybe contact these people … There is more info about RA’s here too

        Good luck 🙂


      4. Thanks, this is really useful. Do you happen to know, if we went for the Right to Manage, whether this would need to be incorporated in our leases?


  8. That’s why a house down a lane and in a field with only cows for neighbours appeals to me.
    In towns somebody only has to leave a dustbin outside the front gate to make another house unsellable.


  9. Oh good luck with that… neighbours are so important. Hadn’t realised you were having all that to contend with… Fingers crossed and prayers uttered that the next occupant of said flat is WONDERFUL and consideration and lovely in every way!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s