Tuesday 2 March 2004 9.41am
Yes, James 516 is right, the relationship between Freeholder and Leaseholder is the same nasty messy one whoever the players are.
I've recently bought out my dreaded Freeholder for a surprisingly small sum, only twice the amount she had managed to 'steal' from me despite every well researched attempt to fight her off before the last but one law change and 2 or 3 % of the value of the place.
She was the notorious [named in the House in debates about the really bad Freeholders which occasioned a change in the law, as well as in the famous evening Standard campaign of Mira Bar-Hillal's] Susan Dixon.
Or, Susan Dixon, Buttercup Management, Edgeguide Limited, who used to use Malthouse Chevalier solicitors to do their unbelievably aggressive extorting for them, until Malthouse happily died. There are quite a few people afflicted by the plague of Ms Dixon in Southwark, though she has been withdrawing from the no longer so profitable game recently, wounded, hurt, and in her case nursing a hangover.
I just want to let anyone else afflicted by the Dixon virus know that she is challengeable, defeatable, easily spooked if you've really done your homework, and are for example ready to take her on, having kept scrupulous notes and copies of all the things said and done [which she does not do. She relies on sheer ranting bullying now that the equivalent legal threats are less effective]. Finally after years of torments and 'theft' and High Court threats etc. we beat her and got the Freehold for the absolutely lowest possible price, 2 or 3 % of the value of my apartment in a buidling with two apartments. That included using a super pucka Solicitor too, and having borrowed it the annual costs are now much less than they were before.
Oh and what brought her down here was her high handed and casual attempt to rip us off over the long awaited Service Charge Rip Off, which she badly handled, in that it was so obvious what her tactics would be and because she attempted to use her own men who were miles away from here, and just messed it up in her usual haste and having got used to years and years of being able to get away with it. It took a lot of time and effort and some nerve holding to confront her with exhaustive documentation -and in the street when she came to take photos but scuttled away- but she capitulated. Her final thign was to threaten to sell the Freehold on the open market, which is governed by rules that you need to inform her about before making a well informed bid yourself which she will always take; she's getting desperate.
The key is boring; you have to be better informed than any solicitor/barrister you are likely to encounter on the law and on case history and precedent. Very few legal people or surveyors have got caught up with Dixon [who always settles, alway avoids a court record in that way etc.] and can never believe just how flagrantly aggressive she and they all are.
The LEASE people [last heard of by me in new offices near Old Street] are good, but you need to do your own research and work beyond consulting them too.
There is a group called CARL, who are worth knowing about as an information source, and particularly for Council or ex C. Leaseholders I believe. Their contacts are: www.carl.org.uk.
is also well versed in these issues in my experience, and was a help to me at a critical juncture, though not over the final confrontation which was strictly personal.
Good luck, fight the evil Dixons!