Can there be different freeholders for each flat in a converted house (3 flats)

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    Can there be different freeholders for each flat in a converted house (3 flats)

    A Victorian property was converted into 3 flats. I am the leaseholder for one of the flats and have an individual named as the freeholder on my lease. My neighbours have someone else named as the freeholder on their leases. The managing agent have confirmed that they are acting on behalf of the freeholder named in my lease, but in previous emails have referred to the other leaseholders' freeholder as my freeholder. I don't understand how it works if different freeholders are named on different leases. Please can someone kindly explain.

    #2
    This would, at least hypothetically, be possible, but would be unusual.
    There is, for example, a type of leasehold known as 'Tyneside Leases' (usually only in maisonettes) where the leaseholder of a lower maisonette owns the freehold to the upper one and vice versa.

    I think that it would be extremely unusual for there to be a situation like this where the freeholder wasn't one of the other leaseholders, and it may be more likely that someone has misunderstood what happens when leaseholders jointly buy the freehold to a property.
    Leaseholders sometimes think that they are buying the freehold to their individual flat, when in reality they are usually buying a share of the freehold for the whole property.

    Having three different freeholders is likely to be problematic if any major structural work is required for the property (unless the leases make all maintenance the responsibility of leaseholders) because it may require all three to agree the required action.

    What you should do is check what is listed on the Land Registry website to find out who they have listed as the freeholder for each of the three flats, and whether the same freehold title applies to all three (this may cost you a small amount - about £3 per title I believe).
    If each flat does have a separate freehold the Land Registry will have them listed separately and each will have a different title number.
    You may find that each 'freeholder' actually has a share of a single freehold (which will mean that they should not be making demands as individuals).

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      #3
      I should add that the freeholder actually named on leases is often irrelevant as that will only be the name of the freeholder at the time the lease was granted (and the leases to the different flats may have been granted at different times - especially if they have been extended).

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        #4
        Thanks. None of the freeholders were living at the flat addresses when the leases were granted. After numerous requests and a year later, I have now received an address from the managing agent. I’m aware I sound paranoid, but there are so many iffy things about this managing agency. After various google searches, it appears that people with the same surname live at the address, but not my particular freeholder. Fwiw, any demands for payments do not have my freeholders address on - they have the name of the other freeholder who happens to own the managing agents. Can I also ask for an email address or phone number from the managing agents? The agency always refer to the freeholder as the man who owns the agency and have repeatedly called him my freeholder. They are not part of a property redress scheme, seem to be restructuring other companies in their portfolio and their lettings arm is expelled from the property ombudsman.

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          #5
          Have a look at the land registry.
          That should tell you who owns the title to the property for £3.00
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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            #6
            As has been said, you need to check who the Land Registry have listed as the freeholder.

            You should also make sure that you know the requirements for both ground rent and service charge demands (leasehold advisory website covers these requirements quite well).
            If demands are not correct, including all necessary information, you don't have to pay them - although you should make sure you put the money aside as the amount can become payable later once the coreect jnformation is provided.

            What you also need to do is ensure that you know whether the costs that are being demanded are (a) payable under the terms of the lease and (b) reasonable.
            If they are both payable and reasonable, your reason for any non payment would be that you needed to be certain that the person making the demands was entitled to payment.

            You can ask for email/phone numbers for both freeholder and managing agent, but I don't think they have any legal obligation to provide either.

            As for the managing agent not being registered with a redress scheme, you can report them for this but it is up to the local council to decide whether or not they will take any action.

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