Buying ground floor flat with freeholders permission for alteration

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    Buying ground floor flat with freeholders permission for alteration

    Hi there and thanks for your help in advance,

    We're looking to purchase a ground floor flat with a private garden, in a building with 2 other flats. The garden is sizeable and the end portion has been prepared by the current owners for a garden studio/annexe. The current owners, in tandem with their neighbours above them, have also previously been granted freeholder allowance for a kitchen extension and completed that work. Currently, the flat is leasehold but the building leaseholders are in the process of moving to a share of freehold which we have been told will be in place within the next few weeks, i.e. before anyone purchases.

    We would be looking to purchase the flat on the basis of being able to install the garden studio/annexe. Aside from planning permission, we understand we would need the permission of the other freeholders (once share of freehold completed) in order to undertake the development. We have been told by the estate agents (of course!) that the current owners have a great relationship with the other owners, the example being the previous allowance for extensions on their property and the property above.

    We still think it would be prudent to request written confirmation for permission, in principle, from the other freeholders before purchasing the property. Is this something anyone has experience with? Is this at all binding, or can the other freeholders withdraw any permission whenever? Is it easier to gain permission with a share of freehold, as opposed to purely a leaseholder?

    Look forward to reading replies!
    A

    #2
    Originally posted by Atticus View Post
    Is it easier to gain permission with a share of freehold, as opposed to purely a leaseholder?


    NO.

    You still have to ask for permission. and possibly pay a price ( £ )- for that.

    READ THE LEASE, it's all in there, and if you have not seen a copy of the lease then don't buy !

    Remember you are buying the lease and NOT the flat. You are buying the right to use your "demised" space for the rest of the length of the lease. It's the lease you buy, so you had better see it, and read it.
    It will probably say not to make any alterations / additions without first obtaining freeholder approval.

    But as others say, we can't read the lease from here, only you can.
    What does it say about alterations / additions.


    Comment


      #3
      Its unlikely you can get any written confirmation or commitment from the freeholders until after you have become the leaseholder of the property.

      Leasehold property means the leaseholder holds the property under a long term rental agreement.

      Freehold property means the freeholder(s) has legal ownership the property.

      Comment


        #4
        Can u not get the leaseholder (whom u r buying from) to obtain consent for the alterations, then transfer that consent to u on completion? This would be a far safer approach as opposed to just trust the estate agent? From personal experience never trust on verbal agreements. Only trust legal documentation as this is what will ultimately safeguard ur interests.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Babyspice View Post
          Can u not get the leaseholder (whom u r buying from) to obtain consent for the alterations, then transfer that consent to u on completion?
          One thing I missed ( or forgot about ) is
          "The garden is sizeable and the end portion has been prepared by the current owners for a garden studio/annexe"

          That tells me they must already have obtained freeholder permission, as you can't start preparing unless you have permission to do so.
          Unless they just went ahead, without permission, and Atticus may be told to put the garden back to original condition.

          Talk to the company secretary of the freeholder to see if permission has already been granted
          But don't be surprised if they come back and say it only applies to the current leaseholder, and any new leaseholder will have to either apply, or re-apply for permission.

          Another But - - - Freeholder cannot give a prospective buyer, who is not a leaseholder, not a shareholder, not paying service charges, does not live there, any permissons whatsoever.

          Ask to see the freeholders permission to current leaseholder to build a studio/annexe.
          Your solicitor should have done this already, if he knows all that we now know
          .

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for the replies so far!

            I should say we're not at the point of solicitors yet, just had viewings, but this topic would make a difference to us offering. Also, when I mentioned the end of the garden was prepared I meant they've a space earmarked, with electrics, waste and water rather than any development has started.

            Reads as though there isn't really a way to get prior assurances a garden studio will be allowed for us. We had wondered if it would be possible to pass over permissions, so we'll explore this further and request the relevant snippet from the lease regarding permissions too.

            Regarding the share of freehold, does this not make it easier to attain permission? In the sense that you all have a stake in the property and so being amenable and flexible (assuming development requests are reasonable and in-keeping) would benefit the other freeholders in the future, should they wish to make alterations?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Atticus View Post
              I meant they've a space earmarked, with electrics, waste and water rather than any development has started.
              AGAIN-That tells me they must already have obtained freeholder permission, as you can't start preparing unless you have permission to do so.
              Originally posted by Atticus View Post
              Reads as though there isn't really a way to get prior assurances a garden studio
              Although I said you may have to re-apply for "shed", That is assuming there is no current freeholder permission to errect one.
              If they have added electrics, waste and water, dug trenches for those, they should have freeholder permission, or they have done it illegally
              ASK TO SEE the freeholders authorisation for the ""shed" before you can consider purchase.
              ASK TO SEE planning permission.
              At no time have you told us that freeholder HAS given permission, so we are in the dark at the moment, hence my options stated.

              Originally posted by Atticus View Post
              Reads as though there isn't really a way to get prior assurances a garden studio will be allowed for us.
              If freeholder permission has been granted, it IS possible for freeholder to state "Permission has been granted already, and provided you stick to the original sizes and use, and once you are a leaseholder, and do not intend to change the use of the "shed" we should probably have no objection to the permision to extend to you, under above conditions."

              Originally posted by Atticus View Post
              Regarding the share of freehold, does this not make it easier to attain permission?
              Read post number 2 and 3

              If you purchace the flat the other leaseholders would have paid a substantial fee for the right to become the freeholder. You would probably have to pyy the same share the others paid if you want to become a shareholder
              Why should you get a free share when the others had to pay thousands each for a share ( and share certificate ).

              Go knock on the doors this weekend and ask who is in charge of obtaining the freehold, and ask him / her about the permission to errect studio. you just may be lucky. if they are as you state.
              BUT never rely on info from a seller, --- --- they lie.




              Comment


                #8
                Thanks ram just to be 100%, I don't think I was entirely clear - the flat will come with a share of freehold. We would not be purchasing as purely a leaseholder and then joining the freehold...there are/will be 3 apartments each with a share of freehold, including the one we're looking to purchase.

                Does this still mean we need permission for the studio in our private garden from the other 2 freeholders?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                  Does this still mean we need permission for the studio in our private garden from the other 2 freeholders?
                  I say again, you must seek freeholder approval for ANY alterations.
                  There will be a set number of directors, one two or 3.
                  Those directors are in effect th freehold company, and usually they decide if any one can build, alter, convert.

                  But i would assume at this early stage, as eveyone recently paid a lot of money to obtain the the freehold, ALL leaseholders ( director or not ) would be asked it they had no objection.

                  As i keep saying, you need freeholder authorisation, see post number 7 again.

                  Write a letter to all the flats ( stating- copy to flat 1,2 & 3 ) and ask the questions from all above posts. write it today, find a red post box that says collection 4pm, and they will have letter on Saturday. then all you questions should be answered.


                  Comment


                    #10
                    ram again thanks, extra clarity is helpful as the estate agent (of course!) is maintaining permissions aren't required. We're knocking on doors/sending letters.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                      ram again thanks, extra clarity is helpful as the estate agent (of course!) is maintaining permissions aren't required. We're knocking on doors/sending letters.
                      .
                      As in post number 7. last line "BUT never rely on info from a seller, --- --- they lie.
                      Now add to this ........................ BUT never rely on info from estate agent, -- -- they lie - - or make things up - AND they wont have leaseholder property knowledge about leases.
                      In fact you are buying a lease, not the flat, and you try and get a copy of the lease, it's near imposible. ( they are selling to you a lease with addition of your name on it via a one page deed of variation )
                      ..

                      Comment


                        #12
                        ram Quite. In situations like this where the advice they're giving is akin to legal advice, they should be held accountable. Very naughty to say there is no need for permission to entice a sale, when there very clearly is a need and requirement!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You must make sure that everything you need is granted at the same time as you buy. Do not rely on anyone's goodwill. Tell your conveyancer exactly what it is you want to do and what you expect.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                            Leasehold property means the leaseholder holds the property under a long term rental agreement.

                            Freehold property means the freeholder(s) has legal ownership the property.
                            But both are legal owners. They both have legal estates in land but with different rights attached.

                            Comment

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