A little background to my problem. I am joint freeholder, with my son, of a number of leasehold houses built by my late husband in the north of England in the 60's. I collected the ground rents from that time until I gave my son responsibility for collection 20 years ago. He has recently handed them back to me to collect - I think I am finding out why ! I am afraid I am having to learn all the new legal requirements of me, as a freeholder, which have changed dramatically since I last made collections and I would appreciate any advice you can give.
I have found out, through HMLR that, although rent demands have been sent out regularly, 4 of the properties have changed hands over the last 10 years without us being informed, as required by lease covenant, therefore the demands have been sent to the wrong people and have subsequently been ignored. At this point I would say that as the g/r is only £10 per annum we have never taken any action against l/h's for arrears - especially as some of them are elderly, having bought their properties from my husband as new build - except by sending strongly worded reminders to persistent debtors. My questions relating to g/r owed for over 6 years are:-
Do I invoice for the whole amount owed and wait for 'new' owners to challenge the amount ?
Or can I only demand 6 years ? If this is the case, do the amount of arrears still left unpaid remain such 'on record' and can I, in the event of the present leaseholder selling on in the future, demand payment of this amount before signing and returning any future N/A ?
In the event no money is forthcoming, I understand from previous postings that I can approach the relevant mortgage company, what steps do I have to complete before I consider this course of action ?
Do I have any redress against the present owners for breach of lease covenant by their solicitors not informing us of lease transfer ? Should I now insist upon us receiving, officially, a N/A from them to put our records straight (we have never charged for receiving and returning these Notices, by the way) or do I just refer to the information I paid for from HMLR regarding the present owners ?
I would add, that in all cases, although the properties are in the North and we are based in the South (therefore not in the same locality) all previous owners, and their neighbours, had our address for serving Notices, paying g/r etc. and we have never been 'absent landlords' in the true sense of the word.