FAQs

FAQs: Please select a category

General

  • Who or what is a freeholder?

    The freeholder is your landlord (also sometimes referred to as a “lessor”). This may be an individual or it may be a company. The freeholder owns the building of which your property forms part.

  • If the landlord owns the building then what have I paid for?

    You have entered into a long lease to occupy the property. The payment you have made is for the right to use and occupy the property for the term (usually 125 years) and for the purpose set out in your lease. With this right comes certain legal obligations owed to the landlord – to pay the ground rent, not to cause a nuisance, not to commit damage being prime examples.

  • What is ground rent?

    Ground rent is the annual rent you pay to the freeholder (landlord) to occupy and use the property. The amount and frequency is determined by the lease you, or the original purchaser, entered into when the property was first sold.

  • What happens if I am late in paying the ground rent?

    As a breach of a legal obligation, provided the landlord has first given not less than 30 days written notice that the rent is due for payment, a landlord (or agent) may commence debt recovery proceedings. Once debt recovery proceedings are commenced you are also likely to have to pay administration charges and interest, where recoverable, under the terms of your lease.

    Often a landlord will approach your mortgage lender (a step in recovery inevitably required by your lease) and arrange for them to add the bill to your mortgage which could result in you paying the additional debt over many years with interest charges.

    Debt recovery proceedings may result in a County Court Judgment being entered against you and, if the necessary criteria are reached, forfeiture of the lease.

    A landlord can only forfeit (take back) your lease if they are granted leave to do so by a Court or a first-tier tribunal – the cost of such an application is also recoverable, along with any solicitor’s costs.

  • This is the first I’ve heard of this - I didn’t receive the 30 day notice referred to above. Do I have to pay ?

    Your landlord is under a legal obligation to first serve ‘notice’ of the rent due. This is called a Section 166 Notice. It sets out the amount of rent due, the period the rent covers and the date that payment is due. The notice must be addressed to the property for which the rent is due, unless you have notified the landlord in writing of an alternative address at which you would prefer to receive rent demands. The alternative address can only be in England or Wales.  Unless your lease specifies, the Notice is not required to be posted by recorded delivery.  

    If you have neglected to advise your landlord that you do not personally reside at the property he is under a continuing obligation to address any request for payment to you, at the property. Failure by your sub-tenant to forward correspondence does not affect the validity of the notice and you could find that you incur additional costs following the proper service of a notice you possibly knew nothing about. It is recommended that you either notify us of where you would wish notices to be served or you arrange for any correspondence to the property to be forwarded to an alternate address.

  • Am I liable for unpaid rent by the previous owner of my house?

    Non-payment of rent is a forfeitable breach of lease and your new landlord will usually be able to forfeit the lease on the grounds of non-payment of rent – even if it relates to the period prior to your ownership.  Before purchasing a leasehold property,  it is therefore important to ensure that there are no rent arrears, otherwise you may end up having to pay them to avoid forfeiture of your lease.

  • My property is empty. Do I still have to pay ground rent?

    Yes. Under the terms of your lease you have to pay the rent when it is due regardless of whether or not the property is vacant.

  • I thought I paid my ground rent through the service charge?

    Forte Freehold Management only collect ground rents. If we have sent a ‘notice of ground rent due’ this is because it is not collected through the service charge. Your service charge estimate/ budget sent out by the managing agents gives you a breakdown of what is collected through the service charge.

  • My property is for sale. Do I still have to pay my ground rent?

    Yes. If you sell your property part way through the year, your solicitor will apportion out any over payment of ground rent you have paid and recover this from your purchaser.

  • How do I inform you that I have sold my property?

    You usually have 28 days from the sale of your property to notify us. This should be carried out by the solicitor acting for you. Your solicitor will be required to serve a Notice of Transfer, Notice of Charge and in some cases a Deed of Covenant. Fees are payable to register the transfer and these are determined by your lease. Your solicitor should also ensure that all ground rent and service charge is paid before the sale completes.

  • How do I pay my ground rent?

    There are a number of ways in which you can pay your ground rent as detailed below:

    By Bank Transfer

    Details of the bank account for your property can be found on the remittance at the bottom of our invoice.  Please ensure that you quote your unique reference number when making payment in order that your payment can be correctly allocated to your account.  Please do NOT prefix your reference number with any additional information as this may mean that your reference number does not appear on our printed bank statements. 

    Failure to reference your payment with the correct unique number may mean that we are unable to identify your payment made into our account.  Any such transactions are allocated to a suspense account.  Please note that if we have written to you as we believe you to be in arrears, a charge will be levied to your account.  These charges are non–refundable in the event that you have not correctly referenced your payment. 

    If you are an overseas leaseholder please contact us at  office@fortefreeholdmanagement.com for details of the IBAN/SWIFTBIC information to enable you to transfer funds direct.

    By Cheque

    Please do not make cheques payable to Forte Freehold Management Limited.  We act on behalf of our clients and as such all monies received are held in trust accounts on behalf of our clients.  Details of whom to make cheques payable to can be found on the remittance at the bottom of our invoice.  Please ensure you attach the remittance from the bottom of your invoice and quote your full unique reference number on the reverse of the cheque, along with your name and correspondence address.

Charges

  • Why am I being charged late payment fees?

    Under the terms of your lease you have agreed to pay your rent when it is due. Your lease may allow your landlord or their appointed agent to recover all reasonable and proper administrative charges incurred as a result of any failure of the tenant to comply with its legal obligations.

  • Why am I being charged interest and how do you determine the rate of interest?

    Again, under the terms of your lease, interest is chargeable on any payment of ground rent and insurance rent not received on the due date. The rate of interest is specified in your lease.

    We will only collect interest where instructed by your landlord. Interest, if charged, will be in addition to cost recovery charges (where applicable under the terms of your lease) which are levied as a result of late payment.

Buildings Insurance

  • What is buildings insurance?

    Buildings insurance is an essential requirement; it covers the building and property owner’s liability for loss or damage caused by a number of risks ordinarily including fire, water, specified events and theft.

    Proper insurance of a leasehold development is crucial. Leases almost invariably specify that the landlord or the management company is responsible for insuring the physical structure of the development and its communal areas and facilities. In some circumstances, if your landlord has appointed a managing agent to manage the property, they may have been tasked with arranging cover and dealing with any issues arising under it. In most leases in which the landlord insures you will find there is a corresponding covenant by the tenant to reimburse the landlord for all costs incurred and this cost is recoverable as an additional rent.

    Whoever is responsible for putting insurance in place must ensure that they obtain the right cover on reasonable terms and at a competitive price. Insurance companies will charge a lower premium if the person insured is willing to pay the first part of any claim – this is known as the excess. Most insurance policies of this nature will have some level of excess and again it is up to the person effecting cover to ensure that this is reasonable in the circumstances.

    As a leaseholder you have the right to know how this insurance has been arranged. You may serve a notice requesting a written summary of the insurance cover and your landlord has 21 days to respond stating the amount insured, the name of the insurer and the insured risks. The landlord/ management company or managing agent may make a charge for providing this information.

    You may find that every now and again your landlord has charged you a ‘reinstatement valuation cost’. The landlord is under an obligation to insure the property for the full reinstatement value (the cost of rebuilding the development should it be completely destroyed) and, as this inevitably increases over time, it is important to assess this value on a regular basis to ensure that the insurance cover is sufficient. It is important to understand that should the insurance currently in place not be adequate, under the terms of the lease the leaseholders may be required to make up any shortfall in the rebuilding cost.

    Your lease will also impose upon you certain obligations relating to insurance. The usual covenants include:-

    a. Not to insure an apartment against any risks covered by the landlord.

    b. Not to do or omit to do anything which may make void any insurance or which may cause an increased premium to be payable.

  • Why do I have to pay buildings insurance?

    Under the terms of your lease you have contracted to repay the cost of this insurance to whosoever insures the building. The portion you pay is determined by your lease and is usually a “fair and reasonable proportion”. It may be recharged as a percentage, by area or as a fair and reasonable apportionment.

  • I thought I paid this through my service charge?

    Sometimes the buildings insurance is collected via the service charge. If you have received a separate invoice for insurance then this is because your landlord has asked us to collect it separately on his behalf.

  • Why is the premium for less than a year?

    When your landlord purchases the freehold he is required to take out insurance on the day the purchase completes. This can often be part way through a year. After the first year the landlord may well apportion out the insurance so that it begins on the same day that your ground rent is due.

  • How do I make a claim?

    If you need to make an insurance claim, please click here for details.  In an emergency, please ensure that you contact the emergency number provided by the block managing agents

  • How can I get a copy of the Insurance Certificate and Policy Documents?

    You can request a copy of your insurance policy and certificate through this website, although copies are sent out along with the invoice. 

  • Are my contents covered?

    No. You will have to arrange contents cover yourself.

  • What is covered under the Policy?

    This can vary depending on the insurer. You will need to check your Insurance Policy to see what is covered in relation to your property.

Making Changes to the Property

  • Making Changes to the Property

    When considering alterations or physical changes to the property a lease will usually impose one of the following restrictions upon a leaseholder:-

    a. prohibit the tenant from carrying out any alterations to the premises; or

    b. absolutely forbid certain works but permit the tenant to carry out other alterations with the landlord's prior consent; or

    c. absolutely prohibit some works, permit others with the prior consent of the landlord and allow minor works to be carried out without reference to the landlord.

    Please refer to your lease before making any changes or you could be in breach of your lease. If you have made any alterations without consent the Landlord may instruct you to return the property to its original condition which may prove costly. You could also be liable for any costs incurred by the landlord in remedying the situation. If you should come to sell your property having carried out alterations a purchaser will inevitably ask to see evidence of landlord’s consent – usually in the form of a licence.

Consent

  • Alterations

    If your lease contains a restriction on carrying out alterations before the landlord gives consent (which is the usual situation) you will need to make a request to us in writing enclosing full plans and specifications. A reasonable administration charge will be payable in advance for proper consideration of the alterations and we will advise you on what this is once we have had the opportunity to appreciate what is being proposed. Acceptance of payment does not indicate that consent will automatically be granted.

  • Windows and Doors

    Consent to replace windows or doors will generally be granted as long as they are in keeping with the structure of the development. You will have to provide brochures of the types of windows/ doors you wish to replace. An administration charge will be payable on application.

  • Satellite Dishes

    Please refer to your lease if you wish to install a satellite dish. Most leases do not allow for installation. If you and other lessees wish to collectively apply for a communal dish you will need to contact the managing agents or management company.

  • Sub-letting and assignment

    The majority of leases require the landlord’s consent to sub-let an apartment although this can never be unreasonably withheld. It would be unusual to find a restriction in a lease preventing you from freely selling (or assigning) your property but this is something worth checking before committing to a transaction. If you are considering any disposition (sub-letting, assignment or charge) it is always best to contact us in advance and we will advise on what your particular lease requires.

    Following a disposition there is inevitably a requirement within your lease to notify the landlord that there has been a change in circumstances. Your lease will set out the process – alternatively contact us and we will advise – office@fortefreeholdmanagement.com

  • Pets

    Consent to keep any pet at the property is usually required. Please apply in writing providing details of the type of pet you or your tenant wishes to keep along with an administration fee of £90. We will then refer to your lease. The fee will only be accepted where consent is granted.