” …Leaseholders are now used to the fact that a landlord or estate manager must consult before incurring charges; that service charges must be reasonable; and any dispute may be referred to the First Tier Tribunal of the Property Chamber for resolution.
Perversely, there is no implied test of reasonableness for estate charges and any dispute or challenge must be referred to the County Court through the small claims court procedure (assuming any estate charge will be under the current £10,000.00 threshold). This means that a freeholder will not be entitled to recover legal cost other than the limited fixed fees available under CPR45.
It seems freeholders on a private estate find themselves in a position of having to pay whatever charge the estate manager decides with little to no room for dispute save for an expensive and time consuming determination by a District Judge in the County Court. Freeholders also have no right to receive accounts or to be provided with information relating to the charges claimed unless express provision is included in the deed of transfer which, in the writer’s experience, is unlikely. As more and more estates are built comprising a mixture of leasehold and freehold homes, it is surly time for the law to be amended in this area with freehold owners granted the same rights and protections as their leasehold counterparts..”
You can buy yourself out of these annual charges – for a price: