Many of the leasehold flats in Trumpington Meadows have a variable service charge which is due twice a year, on 1 October and 1 April, payable to the managing agents, Trinity Estates. The terms of leases across the development are fairly uniform: if the charge is not paid within 21 days of the due date, the lease can be forfeit, meaning ownership of the flat is lost and the occupants may be evicted.
This does not depend on whether the flat owner has actually received a bill or invoice.
There are reports that invoices have not been sent to some flat leaseholders in the development in relation to the deadline on 1 October; others have reported that these invoices have arrived, but arrived after the deadline. Others again have reported that their expected direct debits have not been taken recently. If payment has not been made in full by 21 days after the deadline, the consequences can be severe as outlined above.
An example lease term from the development:
If the Rent reserved or the Maintenance Contribution or any part thereof respectively shall be unpaid for twenty one (21) days after becoming payable (whether formally demanded or not) or if any covenants on the Tenant's part herein contained shall not be performed and observed then and in any such case it shall be lawful for the Landlord at any time thereafter to re-enter upon the Property or any part thereof in the name of the whole and thereupon this demise shall absolutely determine but without prejudice to the right of action of the Landlord in respect of any breach of the Tenant's covenants herein contained"
To simplify: "If [...] the Maintenance Contribution [...] shall be unpaid for twenty days after becoming payable (whether formally demanded or not) [...] it shall be lawful for the Landlord [...] to re-enter upon the Property [...] and thereupon this demise shall absolutely determine [...]".
"Maintenance Contribution" above means "the flat's share of the service charge", i.e., your biannual bill. "demise" means your permission to occupy the flat for the remaining years in the lease. "determine" means, in this context, that the permission comes to an end. So what it all means is "regardless of whether you have received an invoice, if you have not paid your service charge 21 days after the deadline, you could lose your flat".
Paying via the Trinity Estates web portal
The web portal is a little confusing to use for payments; you must tick the boxes next to all the debits but not next to all the credits in order to be allowed to "Confirm" the amount.
Who is affected / unaffected?
This post is about flat leaseholders in Trumpington Meadows. It is not relevant to anyone
- who owns their own house
- who rents a house from someone else
- who holds a house via Shared Ownership
- who is in a BPHA flat
- in a BPHA flat, or
- who rents a flat from someone who owns the flat (as opposed to the block the flat is part of)
Leaseholders pay rent to the owner of a block of flats.