Buying building freehold

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    Buying building freehold

    I have a flat for 16 years which has a 900 year lease. The freeholder has never charged service charge although it is in the lease.
    the roof is leaking and my 2 neighbours don’t want to contribute, upstairs is rented and the LL wants to do minimum. We should also have proper buildings insurance.
    I wrote and asked the freeholder to sell me the whole thing so I can sort things out. They wanted an offer but it has zero value.
    I have also asked them to sort out the roof as my flat walls are wet and mouldy. They write back and said I was in breach of my lease as I’ve never paid my (never demanded) service charge and that they also would not be providing insurance until it is paid.
    i’m not sure what to do now?

    #2
    You have a number of options:

    1. Negotiate with the freeholder.
    There is no obligation for them to sell you the freehold as an individual but they might sell you it if you make them an offer. It's not entirely correct to say that the freehold has no value - it has some sort of value to you, even if only because you would then have control of management of the building.
    Depending on the wording in the lease, you may be able to use the fact that they are in breach of the lease by not maintaining the building as some sort of threat to help 'negotiations', but it wouldn't be wise to start with that!

    2. Take the freeholder to county court to try and get an order for them to maintain the building properly in accordance with the lease (they would argue that you are in breach by never having paid service charges, but if you can convince the court that nothing has been demanded that argument should fail).
    This would likely be time-consuming, expensive, and take a while to happen.

    3. Ask a tribunal to appoint a manager.
    This is often not recommended, because even appointed managers are often ineffective and expensive, but if you can't get any other action it might be your best approach. Again this is time-consuming and would not happen immediately.

    4. Get enough support from other leaseholders to enable compulsory purchase of the freehold.
    In this case a tribunal can be asked to set the premium that is payable - but it sounds like you won't get sufficient support.

    5. Carry out the necessarily repairs, and arrange insurance yourself.
    You would first need to give the freehold sufficient warning that this is what you intend to do and time to carry out the necessary work themselves.
    You would be able to try to offset anything you pay out against any future demands for service charges from the freeholder - or to take them to small claims court to recover any amount in excess of what your share would have been under the lease.

    I would definitely suggest that you try to find an insurer who will insure your flat.

    Comment


      #3
      Here is my suggestion :

      1. Make a complaint ( about freeholder refusing to repair the roof ) to your local MP and ask MP to make a written complaint ( the leasehold property system does not work ) to the Housing Minister.

      2. Make an application to the Local Magistrates Court for an order on the freeholder to repair the roof .

      3. The freehold title for a building with 3 flats on 999 years leases, may be valued at 18 x annual ground rent .
      What is the annual ground rent paid by the 3 flats ?

      Comment


        #4
        Basically as you have a useless freeholder and leaseholders who don't care, I would buy the freehold and enforce the lease.

        It is not for faint-hearted though and could afford the repairs and taking everybody to court?

        Comment


          #5
          Make a sensible offer for the real world value of the freehold which even on the scant info given is way more than zero.

          Comment

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