Solicitor incorrectly defined lease terms

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    Solicitor incorrectly defined lease terms

    Hi all. looking for some advice.

    When buying a shared ownership property, the lease I thought I was buying into was 125 years. This was the paperwork received from the solicitor. The property was purchased in 2008. 11 years down the line and having recently decided to sell the property it now appears the housing association are saying there is only 88 years on the lease and it was 99 not 125 which was issued by the solicitor to me.

    Now this is causing issues with the potential buyer and finding information as to whether this constitutes a defective lease or not? Also I was purchasing in good faith a property with 125 years, which has resulted in now being reduced to 88 which was as no fault of my own.

    Who would be accountable for the lease extension costs and what are my options?

    You should be able to check with HMLR. You may have a case against your solicitor.


      The length of the lease was defined in your lease and at the Land Registry.

      You are responsible for the costs of extending your lease if you choose to extend. There are two routes:
      1. Informal: contact the housing association and ask them the premium they would charge to extend the lease (they do not have to offer an extension);
      2. Statutory: serve a s.42 Notice to start the process. See:
      Another option is you could serve the s.42 and assign rights to the buyer so they do not have to wait 2 years before acquiring the right to extend the lease (statutory route).

      However, it could be by extending the lease you gain as the value of the lease will be higher and this may offset the cost of the extension as well as make additional profit for you.

      I would certainly contact the solicitor that acted for you to make further enquiries about the paperwork received


        I'm not following this. Are you saying that you did not read the lease and relied on the solicitor to interpret it for you?
        What does the lease say?
        Did the solicitor write that the lease says something different from that which it does say?


          Did you buy the property without seeing the solicitor ?

          If you have proof you were informed of 125 years lease, then make a formal complaint against solicitor to SRA


            Originally posted by eagle2 View Post
            You should be able to check with HMLR. You may have a case against your solicitor.
            Eagle my understanding is that you cannot sue after 6 years? Paperwork/don't need to be kept for longer I thought. Is that incorrect?


              Some solicitors keep or store files for much longer than 6 years. I suggest that you enquire if the solicitor is able to let you inspect your file. You are able to raise a complaint against the solicitor as long as you have only just become aware of the problem. The SRA will consider complaints if you are unable to reach agreement with your solicitor but you will need to be able to produce evidence as stated by Gordon999.


                Yes this is odd.

                1. Did you read the lease when you first purchased the property ?

                2. If no to 1., did the solicitor read it and tel you it was 125 years and have you proof of this ?

                3. There isnt a hard a fast 6 year to sue rule, you can sue at any time but there are limitation under the Statute of Limitations Act, this is often 6 years for many contracts, loans, etc..but certain areas contacted to leases are 12 years, in additions there is a section that deals with 'fraud, concealment & mistakes' which may well apply here..I used it successfully against my Freeholder, they told me the ground rent was £x amount but it was less, I successfully sued for a return of the overpaid amounts & interest going back further than 12 years.
                Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.


                  I am aware of a leaseholder who spotted a mistake made by a solicitor after 10 years and the solicitor was required to reimburse the cost of putting it right,


                    Thank you all for clarifying. Interesting!


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