Freehold Enfranchisement with Major Works complication.

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    Freehold Enfranchisement with Major Works complication.


    Myself and 3 other leaseholders are part way through the process of enfranchising the freehold to our house/flats. We have just received the counter offer from our freeholders: We offered 59k and they have come back with 78k.

    Prior to us serving notice on the freeholders they sent us a letter explaining that they were proposing major works the the exterior of our house which would commence in 2009. We just received a letter from them asking for observations and to appoint an additional contractor etc. BUT we don't want to undertake any major works through our freeholders as they are total sharks and have let the house go into disrepair for years, hence the enfranchisement.

    We are going to instruct our surveyors to negotiate with the freeholders on the price now which could take several weeks or longer and it might even go to a tribunal - I suppose this whole process could take another few months and go into 2009.

    Could someone give some advice on our best option to stop the Major Works process ASAP. I am confident that we will successfully enfranchise but if the freeholder starts costly works before the enfranchisement is complete, it will be a financial disaster for us.

    Thank-you in advance for any help/suggestions.

    Here's my view from a pratcical perspective.

    If your freeholder decided to carry out the works, unless there is an account with enough funds in it (and controlled by the freeholder), my guess is they will not pay for the works themselves. They will insist you pay the costs up front before entering into a contract with anyone in relation to the works. If this is the case, my inclination would be to avoid paying anything over. If the freeholder decided to bring forfeiture action against you, his forfeiture claim will be put on hold whilst the enfranchisement proceeds. The 1993 Act states so. The forfeiture claim will only go live once the enfranchisement is completed. However, by that time, the freeholder will no longer be your freeholder and too late for him to continue the claim. The freeholder's claim can only be for costs it has incurred OR to compel you to pay the service charges on account of the costs. The later of the two grounds for action (to compel you to pay SC's on account) is only actionable if the freeholder is still the freeholder.


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