The Rentcharge Deed
Most of the houses around the Formosa Garden were built in the late 19th century. In the 1980’s the Church Commissioners decided to sell the properties around Formosa and other gardens, which after many years of benign neglect were not in very good condition, but they had been little altered since they were built, leaving the area as something of a haven of high Victorian architecture, which in due course led to the area being designated a Conservation Area.
It was agreed that the area should be split up into sections: each section being run by a self-governing limited company, with a Chairman and directors who are all residents elected at the Annual General Meeting of the company. Each area was called an Amenity Company – ours being the Formosa Amenity Company.
To ensure the future preservation of the area, the Commissioners drew up complex legal arrangements based on a central document called the Rent Charge Deed. You can download a copy of the Deed by clicking here. In our case the holder of the Rent Charge is Formosa Amenity Limited. It has rights over all the freeholders, but also has obligations to those freeholders. Similarly, every freeholder has rights and duties not only to the holder of the Rent Charge, but through the deed, to every other freeholder. In order to carry out these duties, the Amenity Company has considerable legal powers.
So who exactly is the Formosa Amenity Company? It is a typical Limited Liability Company but its shareholders are, and must be, restricted to the freeholders in the triangle. Every freeholder there has one share in that Company, which is run, as normal, by a Board of Directors elected, of course, by the shareholders (freeholders). It has an AGM and must produce Annual accounts. Like the other amenity companies it is a small, self-governing community.
So what does this mean in practice? If for instance a freeholder or one of his tenants makes some change to his property which is prohibited by the Rent Charge Deed, the Amenity Company can force it to be undone. This can be a lengthy business, but the ultimate sanction is that the freeholder would lose his freehold. It is therefore obvious that the conditions set out in the Rent Charge Deed are of considerable importance. The main rules which you are likely to come across are:
To obtain written permission from the Amenity Company for all external works before starting.
To keep the house in good repair.
To paint the exterior in the correct shade every 5 years.
To pay towards the costs of running the Company and the Gardens
To obey the garden rules.
These are some of the powers and they are quite independent of the powers of the Local Authority. A householder may have planning permission from Westminster Council, but without written permission of the Amenity Company no alterations may be undertaken.
The Rentcharge Deed and associated documents,ents can be downloaded using the links below: