Reclaiming assigned share of freehold from reluctant landlord

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    Reclaiming assigned share of freehold from reluctant landlord

    We bought a flat from someone (let’s call him A) who owned two flats in the building both originally bought with share of freehold. However, A seems to have been unable to get his share of freehold for the flats because the other freeholder (landlord) in the building, who was supposed to have just 50% share, simply ignored all requests to issue shares in the management company or add him as a Director. Given this situation, our solicitor (who said it was clear that A was entitled to the share of freehold for the two flats) added a rider to our purchase agreement to say A’s share of freehold or (shares in the company holding the freehold for our flat) would be assigned to us. The landlord who now claims to be and behaves as sole freeholder has since shut down the company that held the freehold. He doesn’t send annual accounts or requests for service charge, or respond to written requests for these things (thus, I think, putting him in breach of leases). A has made some effort to retrieve his share of freehold, but without much luck it seems as the “freeholder” just ignores all his communication from solicitors. I don’t think A can afford a full legal battle over this. Against this colourful backdrop, I need to extend my lease. Is it worth pursuing the share of freehold assigned to us or should we give up on that and go for a standard lease extension? Might collective enfranchisement be a good idea? Any and all advice welcome!

    #2
    If you have it in contract that a share in the freehold would be transferred to you, you can make an application to the Magistrates Court to issue the share to you. Make an enquiry with the Court's Manager.

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      #3
      Thank you Gordon999. We have it in writing that the share of freehold that was previously attached to the flat would be assigned to us through the purchase. The issue is that the seller did not reclaim the two shares of freehold for his two flats before selling the one flat to us. However, from what you say, the seller and I could possibly jointly make an application to the Magistrates Court to retrieve both shares of freehold due. I assume that all he will need to show is that he bought the two flats with share of freehold and that the landlord has consistently refused to acknowledge or issue the shares over a number of years.

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        #4
        The landlord who now claims to be and behaves as sole freeholder has since shut down the company that held the freehold.
        Obtain the register of title for the freehold from Land Registry's web-site at a cost of £3.
        That will confirm who is the current named freeholder.

        If that is a limited company that has been dissolved without a transfer to a private individual then the freehold is now owned by the Crown.

        If there is a named freeholder then there is a possibility that an offence of fraud has been committed if this person did not have the title transferred lawfully by the limited company that would have had Articles of Association in existence that set out how any transfer of land had to be dealt with by the directors of the company.

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          #5
          Many thanks pilman, that is very helpful. I've checked the title and it shows the freehold is owned by the dissolved limited company. What does it mean that the freehold is now owned by the Crown as you say? Can the seller and I claim our share of freehold from the Crown and if so, how do I find out about the process for doing so? Thanks again.

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            #6
            i think you have to contact bona vacantia :


            https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations

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              #7
              The Treasury Solicitor deals with assets owned by liquidated companies.

              The website is
              https://www.gov.uk/government/organi.../bona-vacantia

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                #8
                There is even a separate site for dissolved companies that owned a Freehold reversion.
                https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-to...reversion-bvc4

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