Freehold - neighbour wont sign to allow us to sell

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    Freehold - neighbour wont sign to allow us to sell

    I live in a converted Victorian house and own the first floor flat. The ground floor is owned by a charity for disabled adults. We both have share of the freehold (50/50 lease).

    We have recently sold our flat and as condition of sale are trying to increase the years left on our lease. We have contacted the ground floor flat who has wished to so the same. In addition to this the charities solicitor has asked for variations in the lease (currently we have separate building insurance which they wish to change), which we are happy with. Our buyers solicitor has also reviewed the variations and is happy with them.

    The new lease has been sent to the charities lender and has been with their lender for over 2 months now. They do not know when they will get the approval from their lender, and are not chasing this.

    Our buyer wants to exchange and complete on the sale of our flat. She is happy for the increase in years and the variations on the lease to occur after sale, to give the charity the time they need. However the charity is refusing to sign her on our lease. Their reason being that she could refuse the variations being made and their increase in years on their lease at a later date. However she has stated she is happy with the variations and for them to increase the years.

    Our solicitor is not acting on this and is just saying we can't do anything and need to wait, that without their signature we will never be able to sell and are stuck (not the most useful of answers!). Is there anything we can do? My opinion is the charity is being unreasonable and holding the lease for no reason.

    To complciate things they are also not speaking to us direct, I have one contact at the charity who is assisting but isn't really involved. The charities solicitor refuses to speak to me or to pass me the details of the person she is speaking too at the charity.

    The chain for us to exchange and compelte is only waiting on this 1 form, so I am under pressure to resolve as soon as. Any help would be great!

    Thank you

    Your solicitor is an idiot.

    As joint owners the answer is simple litigation resolved in the County Court to resolve an impasse between owners of property.
    Wearing your "leaseholder's hat" you can also do things

    1: if the lease allows, disputes can be resolved by arbitration.

    2: Moreover if you have lived there for more than 2 years you can make a statutory application for the existing term to have 90 years added on.

    Your solicitor should be saying you have 7 days to respond failing which my client as leaseholder will serve a section 42 notice and you can kiss goodbye to your amendments and variations oh and the ground rent.

    They might also suggest that as in any case their costs and yours as freeholder are met by the applicant to jolly well employ a surveyor on value and solciotr to act and get off the fence.

    Once that claim is made you can sell to the buyer who takes on the benefit of that claim, and you retain your freehold interest for the time being. If the charity does not respond to you then all the buyer need do is at the expiry of the notice ask the court or LVT to decide in the absence of the response.

    I might even complain about the charity failing in its fiduciary duties in the matter.

    My comments are tainted by the fact that I have dealt with a few charities and they often feel able to say " oh no that doesn't apply to us, we are a charity" and that allows them to behave as if the sun rises in west.
    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


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