Residents Meeting Minutes Tuesday 19th June 2007, 6pm, Abbeyfield Park House
Houses affected by the auction in November 2005
61-65 & 69-79 Shirecliffe Lane
1-65 & 4-58 Cookswood Road
281-287 Rutland Road
Earlier this month the Burngreave Messenger printed an article about the sale of Council land at auction in November 2005, which meant ground rents now have to be paid to a private company instead of the Council. We received several calls from concerned residents and we have organised the above meeting.
Over 40 people attended from all three street affected. The following was discussed:
Finding the landlord and paying the rent
Several Cookswood Road residents said they couldn’t find their new landlord after the auction in November 2005. This was because the Council had provided the wrong address. Some Cookswood residents were not aware the land had been sold at all.
Graham Dixon explained they he had eventually discovered the correct address and recently cheques had been cashed for several residents
Residents wanted to pay the ground rent and have proof that it had been paid.
Shirecliffe Lane was sold to Secure Land Limited, this had been confirmed in writing to one resident, but they had not been billed for the rent. The land was sold again in March 2005 but the new owner is not know, only their solicitor, Ken Whitehead.
Other residents of Shirecliffe Lane did not know the land had been sold.
Residents were concerned about what might happen if the rent wasn’t paid
Buying the Freehold
Fears were expressed about how the new owners might try to make money on the purchase of the land – suggestions include: persuading the residents to pay over the odds for the freehold; paying for permission for extension or retrospective permission. Residents were concerned about problems they might leave behind for family members if this issue wasn’t sorted out.
The landlord must provide their address to tenants for rent to be payable. No more than 6 years rent can ever be owed.
Andy Shallice, who works for Sheffield City Council as the Area Coordinator, told residents about the response he had received from Council officers when he had raised the issue, who told him the Council is under pressure to get rid of land and auction is considered the best way to do this
Several Cookswood Road residents explained that they had approached the Council with an interest in buying the freehold. One got a letter saying he had to buy the whole lot at auction, one said they had been put off by the Council who told them it would cost over £1500-£2000, another was told they couldn’t be bought individually
Cookswood Road resident, Eric, got a letter from Uplands Estate which said he could buy the freehold for £1600, plus the landlords legal fees of £500.
Graham explained the advice he had been given was that there is a limit to what can be charged, as a guide its 30-50 years rent.
the majority of the meeting wanted to buy their freeholds, but did not want to have to pay a very large sum of money
people felt they should have been offered the freehold by the Council. Several residents had raised their concerns with council officer, John Rigg, who said it was out of the Council’s hand – but they felt that even if the Council had no legal responsibility, they had a moral responsibility and should have given residents the chance to buy the freehold.
Several residents suggested a solicitor could be shared by residents to reduce the cost to all
Conclusions and next steps
All the leases are long, so the residents have time to get advice and make an informed decisions
Your landlord must notify you of an address in England or Wales where you can serve notices (for example in connection with court proceedings). This may be the address of a representative such as a solicitor. So long as they fail to do this, any rent or service charges falling due are treated by statute as not payable and do not become payable until they give you this information
Area Coordinator, Andy Shallice, offered to write to the Council offers about the complaints made in the meeting
The Messenger offered to contact the Councillors to arrange a further meeting with them
The Messenger offered to write notes from the meeting and circulate them
Everyone agreed that their contact details could be shared so a meeting could be organized.
Useful information shared by residents
Landlord for 1-65 & 4-58 Cookswood Road 281-287 Rutland Road is:
Uplands Estates Ltd Montana House, Hazel Way, Chipstead,CR5 3PJ Tel: 01737 551919
The freehold for 61-65 & 69-79 Shirecliffe Lane is in the process of being sold and the new owner is not known although their Solicitor is
Ken Whitehead BBH Solicitors 0151 326 2372
residents can get a free copy of the governments guide to long leases from
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
PO Box No 236
Wetherby LS23 7NB
Tel: 0870 1226 236 Fax: 0870 1226 237
Since the last meeting
Mr Yousef of Cookswood Road has sought advice from a solicitor Mirza Mahmood, who confirmed that:
*The Landlord must contact you, until they do, rent does not have to be paid.
*That there is nothing to worry about if they do not contact you and you don’t pay your rent.
*If you want to buy the freehold you need to negotiate with the new Landlord and come to an agreement
*If you want to build something, an extension for example, you need to contact the Landlord
Andy Shallice wrote to Corporate Property (letter attached) and received a response (also attached). Andy doesn’t think the response answers the concerns raised so he is writing to them again.
All correspondence and minutes will be on the Messenger website: http://www.burngreavemessenger.org/community/ground-rent-sales
The Councillors will be at the Area Panel meeting on Thursday 19th July 6-8pm at Fir Vale School. Any question can be raised at this meeting. Cllr Jackie Drayton has offered to help and will be at this meeting.
Contact Graham Dixon, 38 Cookswood Road, 272 4357 about a coordinated approach to buying the freeholds.
Minutes by the Burngreave Messenger 242 0564