A fanfare of trumpets for Joanna Worth, 49, who is making a stand on the great exit fee rip-offs.
Joanna is defying Peverel, which is demanding one per cent of the capital value of her flat in Beckenham, Kent, because she has sub-let it out to a pensioner.
So far she has received three communications from Peverel, including a last one on December 23 2011 threatening legal proceedings within 14 days.
“This is completely wrong and I think someone needs to make a stand against them,” says Joanna, who heard Melissa Briggs, co-founder of Campaign against Residential Leasehold Exploitation, being interviewed on Radio 4’s Money Box Live last Saturday.
Joanna, who worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau for many years, bought the one-bedroom flat at Park Court in September 2007 to provide a home for an elderly friend, but the friend moved out after a couple of years.
She then sub-let it to a woman in her sixties.
In July 2010 she received her first letter from Peverel, claiming that the house manager believed that the flat had been sub-let.
“It is simply a rip-off that these charges are levied,” says Joanna. “Peverel does absolutely nothing for them whatsoever.”
Peverel does not do badly out of the 30-unit Park Court as it is. Joanna pays £2,468 a year in service charges and a heafty £494 in ground rent.
“I just hope the Campaign against Residential Leasehold Exploitation can organise a class action to get these rip-off fees banned,” says Joanna.
It is astonishing, given that she is too young actually to be allowed to live at Park Court, that her conveyancing solicitor did not warn her of these fees – which, as is customary, were buried deep in the lease.
One thought may occur to Peverel and prompt it to drop the fees: sales to Park Court are sluggish and three flats, priced between £149,000 and £157,000 are on the market.
Without occupants, the milch cow yields no milk.