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Hi all

Just wondering if anyone had any advice or any experience of the following:

I recently saw a flat (ground floor) for sale which included garden and a long lease. The flat was part of a large house which also had two flats upstairs.

The ground floor flat has been repossesed but the landlord (who owned the flat) still owns the two flats upstairs and the freehold.

The landlord is being uncooperative with my solicitor but an indemnity policy is available. I spoke to one of the tenants upstairs and they pay the landlord his rent via direct debit, have had no face to face contact with him for some time now and repairs reported (ie radiator off wall) are not being seen to.

The price of the ground floor flat is very reasonable but has to be a cash sale. I initially wanted to proceed but am becoming increasingly concerned about the pitfalls. I believe that I can apply to the leasehold tribunal to try and obtain the freehold if things do not run smoothly but then I could be responsible for all the maintenance costs throughout the house.

Has anyone come across this before? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated

Thanks :)

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It can be bad enough owning a flat with a cooperative freeholder. Why on earth would you want to get yourself involved with an unmortgageable place with a hostile freeholder and many expensive legal battles doubtless ahead of you???

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Bargepole.

If two other flats are short-term renters, their interests are not aligned with yours, and the landlord has all the power over you (and forget the freehold - you have no chance unless the landlord wants to sell). And if repairs aren't happening, the house is going to suffer: no skin off the tenants' nose, but your problem if you've sunk good money into a flat.

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Bargepole.

If two other flats are short-term renters, their interests are not aligned with yours, and the landlord has all the power over you (and forget the freehold - you have no chance unless the landlord wants to sell). And if repairs aren't happening, the house is going to suffer: no skin off the tenants' nose, but your problem if you've sunk good money into a flat.

As a former (accidental) freeholder I'd agree with that. Theoretically if at least one of the other flats were owned by anyone other than the freeholder you'd be able to team up and force him to sell the freehold, and would even be able to force a price agreement with a land valuation tribunal (LVT) if he proved to be uncooperative. However, since he holds the leases of the other two flats that option would not be open to you and he could pretty much do as he pleases without any fear of loss of the freehold. His only obligations would be to ensure that the building was insured and to maintain the integrity of the building and the common spaces.

I know this because I bought a flat with freehold in a converted house (subject to two other leasehold flats) in 1997 so learnt my responsibilities and rights as a freeholder. Never tried to take advantage of this because the place was simply my home so I informed the leaseholders of essential repairs and gave them the opportunity to find cheaper quotes (as I believe is required by law) and it all worked pretty well. Given the time involved in keeping on top of this, as a parting "gift" I sold the freehold to the two existing leaseholders and the buyer of my flat when I moved out for a small consideration (IRO £2000 IIRC) in order that everybody would get a say in the running of the building.

I suspect that your new potential landlord is unlikely to be anywhere near as accommodating, especially given his behaviour so far so I would advise you to steer well clear.

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The price of the ground floor flat is very reasonable but has to be a cash sale. I initially wanted to proceed but am becoming increasingly concerned about the pitfalls. I believe that I can apply to the leasehold tribunal to try and obtain the freehold if things do not run smoothly but then I could be responsible for all the maintenance costs throughout the house.

Has anyone come across this before? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated

Thanks :)

You need a majority of leaseholders to force a sale of freehold. One in three is not enough.

An individual leaseholder can force a change of day-to-day management if they can show that the incumbent is overcharging.

tim

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Thank you all for your views. They are much appreciated. I think it is wise that I don't go ahead. Shame really as it's a flat with alot of potential and in a nice area, but the cons outweigh the pros and I could be in for a tough time.

Thanks again...

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Shame really as it's a flat with alot of potential and in a nice area, but the cons outweigh the pros and I could be in for a tough time.

I'm sure you could get a similar nice flat with comparable potential. At a price. Let's say, for the sake of argument, 25% higher.

That 25% is the price of the trouble this unsatisfactory legal arrangement causes. The one you saw could be a bargain for someone who is equipped to cope. But that would be someone both rich enough and tough enough to deal with problems, meaning almost certainly a professional landlord. For anyone else (including BTL-wannabe) it's at best a big gamble, and likely nightmare-territory.

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  • 334 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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