Loft Conversion not part of property

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    Loft Conversion not part of property

    I was wondering if someone could help me with this question. I'm in the process of buying a property and I've found out that the loft conversion that was advertised as part of the first floor flat I'm buying is actually not part of the leasehold I'm buying, and that a previous owner did the conversion without permission. This is a shock to me as it was advertised as part of the property.

    Additionally, there is an actually staircase in the flat leading to the loft conversion. I find it very difficult to imagine living in a flat where half of it I don't legally own. If it was just an attic it would be easier to understand, but this is literally a whole large room accessed via a stairs.

    If I do end up buying the flat can the owner of the freehold technically go and use my loft room whenever they wish by going through my flat and I can legally not be able to use it?

    I was wondering if there was anything I could do? Is there a way to add the loft to the lease (and if anyone knew how much this would be), or get sole right of access to the loft conversion so I don't have to worry about anyone else being allowed to use it, though not legally owning it?

    #2
    Please read this thread: https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...-in-the-lease=

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      #3
      Thank you for sending this over, it was very informative! The loft isn't mentioned anywhere on the lease, it just says 'All that first floor flat and premises including the structure thereof', which leads me to assume the loft conversion is then technically included? However it does not appear on the copy of the plan I've received, which makes me sceptical.

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        #4
        I do not think that the inclusion of the word "structure" is necessarily helpful, but it is certainly not a contraindication. The fact the loft is not shown on the plan is not conclusive that is is not included. That is because the effect of section 62(2) is that the description of the property in any lease of a flat has to be read to include the words of the sub-section unless there is something in the lease which provides to the contrary. The ambit of the sub-section is very wide and, if it applies, must include a loft if it can be said that it was, when the lease was granted, "occupied, or enjoyed with or reputed or known as part or parcel of or appurtenant to" the flat.

        In any individual case where the position is not made clear in the property description, a careful reading of the whole lease is required to see if there is anything in it which indicates that the loft is either included or excluded and the history needs to be established.

        If it is found that section 62(2) does not apply all is not necessarily lost. If the loft was converted many years ago, whilst a tenant cannot acquire title by adverse possession against his landlord, the law says that the part occupied has to be treated as part of the tenancy for the term of the lease.

        Finally, there is an argument that, again absent any contraindication, the lease of a top floor flat includes everything above it. However, the law is not entirely clear whether that applies in every case.

        Unfortunately, even if you are entirely satisfied that the loft is included, it is does mean that the situation is problem free. The landlord may wake up to the fact that the loft is not expressly included and raise the matter with a view to raking in a windfall. Whilst I think you could see the landlord off (though the outcome any litigation, should it come to that, is never certain) you have to consider whether you want to risk the possibility of a dispute arising. The other possibility is that you may have a problem selling. The effect of section 62(2) is not appreciated by some conveyancers who may resist being persuaded that it applies. Even if a prospective buyer's conveyancer agrees the sub-section applies, he may make the entirely reasonable point that his client may have a problem seliing because the buyer's conveyancer is not convinced that section 62(2) applies..

        Ideally, the position should be put beyond argument by the landlord executing a deed of confirmation which states that the loft is included. However, the seller may be reluctant to approach the landlord for fear that it sets the cash registers ringing. If such a deed cannot be obtained all you can do is step back and "take a view".

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          #5
          Run.away. Run.run run.run away

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            #6
            Thanks for your reply guys! I've asked for a deed of variation/confirmation. I hope that kind of stuff doesn't take too long to sort out (if its realistic to assume the freeholder will be willing to give me a 'free loft'!).

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              #7
              Originally posted by Logical.Lean View Post
              Run.away. Run.run run.run away
              We have almost got to the stage where a conveyancer is negligent if he lets a client buy a leasehold flat without lots of dire warnings. Even if the lease is satisfactory, you have the problem of landlords and managing agents who do their best to extract as much cash as they can from tenants. Even if the tenants are in control those who actually run things may be control freaks.

              Despite the valiant efforts of government many long leaseholders are still being ripped off. Something drastic needs to be done, but the question is how to do it.

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