Help with Section13 notice (Enfranchisement)

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    Help with Section13 notice (Enfranchisement)

    Dear all
    This is my first post on these forums so please go easy on me!

    Myself and my wife own a property in a block of three purpose built flats. We live on the ground floor and own the freehold to the property as well as having a long lease on our flat. The two tenants above us (who both have long leases of over 150 years) have served a notice on us using the Leasehold Reform and Urban Development Act 1993 Section 13, stating their intention to purchase our freehold in it's entirety. They have also stated that they are willing afterward to negotiate cutting us in on a share for the freehold but that would be a separate process.

    To be honest, we're gobsmacked that this is even possible but more to the point we are extremely reluctant to give up control of the freehold on principle. I have a few questions that I wondered if anyone can help me with....

    1) We have sole use of our garden although there is a fire escape at the rear of the property which the leases of the above flats allow access to in the case of an emergency. Should they gain complete control of the freehold, would we potentially lose our right to exclusive use of the garden? Could they grant themselves access to it?

    2) Is it legal that they can seize the freehold without offering us a share during the enfranchisement process? Like I said, we are leaseholders as well so I would have thought we were entitled to be offered this.

    3) Our upstairs neighbour continues to use the terrace at the rear of his property (which is also our kitchen roof) for recreational activities such as barbeques, despite his lease stating that this area is for access only in the event of an emergency. When asked to remove furniture from this area and to cease using it as such, he flatly refused. This request was made verbally but there were witnesses to his refusal. He has also been observed sunbathing on our flat roof (including putting a sun lounger up there) when this area is not for this purpose. Can such behaviour be used as leverage in some way to derail this process?

    4) We have been advised to seek a valuation of the freehold as in their notice they have offered a laughable amount of £350 for the entire freehold and it's associated premises (meaning the front and rear garden). We shall be doing this after our solicitor has checked that the notice served is valid. Are there any other processes and tactics we can employ to put up a struggle, delay and test their resolve? Our suspicion is that they may not have the stomach for a long fight nor wish to dig deeply into their pockets so we're looking for any angle that we can work to fight back.We intend to exercise every right we have which invokes costs on their part (legal or otherwise) whilst doing our best to run up a huge legal bill ourselves. Tips on such rights would be greatly appreciated.

    Finally, my apologies if I come across as mean, that's not the intention. Since we bought the property, we have tried our best to accommodate the wishes of the leaseholders, to get on with them and be decent people but it seems we have been played somewhat. We thought we got on with our neighbours up until this point so we feel aggrieved at this sudden turn of events.

    Many thanks for any advice on this matter

    Ron

    #2
    Just a quick amend...I meant whilst avoiding running up a huge legal bill ourselves....Didn't notice that one until just now.

    Thanks


    Ron

    Comment


      #3
      As the two are two-thirds of the total leaseholders, they have a statutory right to collective enfranchisement purchase; s.13 says so.
      BUT they have to pay V's fees (= yours) for a valuation and all conveyancing work.
      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).

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Jeffrey
        Thanks for replying. I know on the face of it that we have to yield to some degree, but any idea on the points I've mentioned, such as the garden and not offering us the opportunity for a share in the freehold from the outset?

        Thanks

        Ron

        Comment


          #5
          As they've serve a Notice, they're liable for your fees- so why not now instruct a solicitor (at their expense) to advise you more fully than LZ can?
          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).

          Comment


            #6
            If the garden is demised to your particular leasehold flat, then it will remain yours. If not, expect things to change if they are successful.

            You definitely need a solicitor fully conversant with collective enfranchisement matters to represent you during this process. There are statutory time constraints for freeholders that you don’t want to miss.

            You never know maybe they will not adhere to lessee statutory time constraints and/or run out of money and/or accept an offer from you to buy one of their flats.

            Any railway tracks running through your property per chance?

            The collective enfranchisement clock is ticking - employ a solicitor today.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Jeffrey and Poppy again for your replies.

              We have indeed hired a solicitor who we are going to see tomorrow, bringing along with us of course all of the relevant paperwork.

              The garden is listed in our lease for our use and is clearly marked as such in a drawn up plan. The same plan is used in the leases for the flats above us, with hatched boundaries showing access rights. The garden is clearly not included in these boundaries in their leases so hopefully that means we are safe....It has always been a given that the garden is for our use only.

              Poppy, why do you mention railway tracks? Would it have any influence on the matter?

              Thanks

              Ron

              Comment


                #8
                Yes, properties that have railway tracks running through cannot be collectively enfranchised. Take a look at the Leasehold Advisory Service website.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ron Burchell View Post
                  Poppy, why do you mention railway tracks? Would it have any influence on the matter?
                  Because of s.4(5) of 1993 Act:

                  4(5). This Chapter does not apply to premises falling within section 3(1) if the freehold of the premises includes track of an operational railway; and for the purposes of this subsection:
                  (a) track includes any land or other property comprising the permanent way of a railway (whether or not it is also used for other purposes) and includes any bridge, tunnel, culvert, retaining wall or other structure used for the support of, or otherwise in connection with, track,
                  (b) operational means not disused, and
                  (c) railway has the same meaning as in any provision of Part 1 of the Railways Act 1993 (c. 43) for the purposes of which that term is stated to have its wider meaning.
                  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).

                  Comment

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