Absentee leaseholder who and where do I serve a notice

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    Absentee leaseholder who and where do I serve a notice

    I am the freeholder of a building bought in 2009 of which the ground floor flat has a lease for 73 years. The leaseholder has disappeared and has been out of contact for 4 years. Neither the ground rent (£50 pa) nor their share of the building’s insurance has been paid. I have an email address but the leaseholder is now not replying. I have a postal address but don’t think she is there either. The flat remains vacant and all services have been cut off due to non payment since 2018. The property is falling into disrepair and I am getting complaints from the neighbours due to rats and damp. I now have to do significant remedial work. This behaviour breaks numerous clauses in the lease. I have no idea if or when she will return.
    To add to the mystery the person I was told was the leaseholder is not the registered owner according the land registry. And I can find no proof she owns the flat. (Last change registered in 2000)

    I am considering forfeiture but
    a) who do I serve notice on
    b) where do serve notice
    c) how can I find out who owns the lease

    any suggestions as to the action I should take?

    Just serve notice on the address registered at land reg and the property if different You will need to get a court ruling on the arrears to then serve forfeiture notice and you should win a flat. Happy days.
    If there is a charge (mortgage) on the flat then they will pay before you forfeit so you must inform them


      There is no mortgage, and no other address at the land registry, but do I have to show that I have searched for the owner? In fact who is the owner??


        Originally posted by FHM74 View Post
        There is no mortgage, and no other address at the land registry, but do I have to show that I have searched for the owner? In fact who is the owner??
        The lessee (owner) is whoever is registered on the land registry title, you only have to serve notice elsewhere if they have notified you of another address. There is no obligation for you to search for them anywhere else If I were you I would issue money claim online directly.


          When registering your interest as a lessee at the Land Registry (Form AP1) you have to give an address for service so the address at the Land Registry should suffice

          Once you have a money judgement or a determination of the breach then post 14 days you can serve the Section 146 Notice

          After say 28 days you can then apply for a possession order

          However the judge will require you to have searched for the person before he issues the order for possession and there are specialist tracing agents who are usually quite successful and evidence that they have been engaged will need to be shown before the judge finally gives a possession order. The costs of such tracing agents would be recoverable from the lessee as a condition of lifting the Section 146 Notice and at a cost of circa £150 I doubt that will be challenged

          Of course, as stated earlier if there is a mortgage they will need to be advised of the proceedings as that is a requirement of the County Court Rules and would have also been a requirement of the notice of charge receipted by either you or your predecessor. They will then step in a remedy the breach


            I suggest checking the name of leaseholder ( title holder in records kept by Land Registry ) and name of last council tax payer with the Registry for Births and Deaths and place advert in local paper for 3 weeks seeking to contact with those persons


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