Have the other flat's lessees treated us as real mugs?

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    Have the other flat's lessees treated us as real mugs?

    This is probably a classic tale...
    A couple of years ago we were befriended by our neighbours, who after a few meals/drinks out suggested we should buy the freehold to our maisionettes as our leases were both below 80 years. We did this, paying an equal share for the freehold purchase.

    Some months later they said they wanted to undertake a loft conversion. We forked out to have the leases checked by a solicitor who said it was a bit wishy washy as to whether they owned the loft space as they have the top floor maisionette but chances were they did. So we let them go ahead. We did, however, upon the advice of someone on this forum, find out that we shouldn't have paid an equal share for the freehold as they had a two bedroom with the chance to develop and we had a one bedroom with no development prospects. We therefore imposed a condition that they should redress the imbalance with a small payment before the works went ahead. We also agreed a future maitenance split of 63% for them and 37% for us.

    We then endured about 18 months of noise, minor damage to our property (which they rectified), a complete breakdown in our relationship with them and no payment of the money owed. At one point they had the cheek to ask for us to pay for half the new roof, but when we spoke to a solicitor he said that as their new build necessitated it, we should tell them to "Bugger off!" We also became aware we had let them build into our airspace, which also has a commercial value. Post build, we had a few issues with the condition report but repairs were done; although the surveyor said they should take responsibility for the maintenance of the new build for at least 10 to 15 years.
    We did ask to see copies of the guarantees for the works but were told they were none of our concern (Hello! Aren't we entitled as freeholders??).

    They now want us to sign the new leases and, due to a communication breakdown, have engaged a solicitor who has made a few pages of ammendments. They have agreed to cover the costs for our solicitor to check these (up to a 'reasonable' amount) and have ageed to pay the outstanding money once we sign. We have now got a second solicitor's letter to say they are leaving the country and therefore signing is now urgent.

    So my question is this, should we just be grateful for our new roof and sign or should we:
    Demand that our solicitor's costs be paid in full regardless of how 'reasonable';
    Try to reclaim monies for the fact they have built into our airspace (even though we let them initially);
    Refuse to sign anything until the clause regarding the issue of maintenance, for a period of years, has been included.

    We have discussed changing the terms of the lease to 999 years, but could we say no and charge them a premium as they now have a 3 bed, 2 bath flat and their lease is 72 years and ours is 73 years?
    Thank you for reading this far. If anyone could offer advice of how to proceed, we would be very grateful.

    Question 1 must be, "Are you legally bound to sign/execute anything?" Never mind what they want you to do, what do you want?
    In my opinion, you need at least protective legal advice. Do not let yourselves be railroaded again.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


      certainly sign nothing BEFORE you get all money owed!
      Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


        Jeffrey is an expert on leaseholds by the way. You may feel it is worthwhile to consider instructing him.
        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

        * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

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