Ex-lessee now asked to extend leases: may own f/r?

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    Ex-lessee now asked to extend leases: may own f/r?

    Hi, just need some advice.
    Some years ago the wife bought a top floor flat, that had one flat below, back in the late 80’s, this was a leasehold flat, but she only bought it as she knew that the lease was coming up for sale, this was the lease for both flats and paid not a lot for it.
    In about 1991 she lost the flat and it went back to the building society, all was forgotten until a recent phone call from a solicitor for the wife, asking about the leases, which had been forgotten about for many years, and that she still has with all the original paperwork.
    The solicitor was acting for a friend in her own time that owned one of the flats and asked if the wife would be interested in renewing the lease, but the wife just wanted to sell the leases as it was no use to her anymore.
    The solicitor offered her £100, for the leases of both flats and after I did some digging on the net I said she should not sell it for that price and the solicitor told her that her friend has now sold the flat and that was that.
    Also the ground rent for the flats totalling £65pa has never been paid for over 20 years; the leases on the flats have 75 and 67 years left on the leases.
    She has heard that one of one owner may be still interested in buying the leases.
    Have had no communications with anyone as yet, the wife has been conned and has had bad advice from solicitors in the past and is a bit untrusting, that’s all I will say on that subject.
    As far as we know the properties are in the region of £170,000 each and she still would like to sell the leases rather than renew them.
    Any advice in this matter will be gratefully received.

    #2
    Originally posted by scrappy View Post
    ... but she only bought it as she knew that the lease was coming up for sale
    ... this was the lease for both flats and paid not a lot for it ....
    ... all was forgotten until a recent phone call from a solicitor for the wife, asking about the leases ...
    ... The solicitor offered her £100, for the leases of both flats and after I did ...
    She has heard that one of one owner may be still interested in buying the leases...
    ... she still would like to sell the leases rather than renew them.
    Very confusing post. Do you mean freehold? If so, I am asking you to please re-post a much more concise paragraph containing a couple of specific questions.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Poppy View Post
      Very confusing post. Do you mean freehold? If so, I am asking you to please re-post a much more concise paragraph containing a couple of specific questions.
      I do understand that these issues are not straightforward for people, but I am beginning to get a little fed up with the percentage of posts on here that fail entirely to get to the point or use the correct terminology. The correct terminology is not just for fun... if people are spending their time using skills that they have paid to acquire to give free advice then the least the person looking for advice can do is to try to get a brief understanding of the subject first. If for no other reason than to stop people wasting their time advising something that was not asked.

      I am tempted to suggest that there should be a brief 'bluffers guide' to freehold / leasehold that is pinned to the top of this board that is compulsory reading for all new posters (if people post without having taken the time to read it and apply it then their posts get deleted).

      scrappy - I promise that you are far from the worst offender that I have noticed, and I apologise that it just so happen to be your post that has provoke my rant!)

      IMHO Your wife needs legal advice to ensure that she can claim back back rent and is not opening herself up to civil or criminal claims (had she considered the possibility of ending up in prison because she has failed to ensure that the common parts are safe and someone die becuase they can't get out in a fire - this may be an extreme example but it is not impossible). She then needs valuation advice as to how much she might be able to get for the freehold - it should be nearer £10,000 than zero off the top of my head (it may be much more or less). She needs advice on playing hard ball re: lease extension so she encourages the leaseholders to take the 'freehold purchase route'.

      Comment


        #4
        Ok then, she owns the freeholds on the flats.
        And you are right, I don’t know the jargon, probably why I listed the question in the first place, but as I can see you have to be a solicitor to post on this site, which seems at be a contradiction in terms as this site is supposed to be a forum.

        Comment


          #5
          OK, so the freehold was not sold as intended for whatever reason, that has to be temporarily put aside.

          Your wife is waking up to what she owns. She has not taken responsibility (insurance, maintenance, repairs, renewals) for this block of flats for quite a long while. The current lessees may be quite fed up with the whole absent freeholder value-suppressing scenario and there will almost certainly be a catalogue of physical problems to solve. Your wife at the very least needs to be sensitive to the lessees’ concerns. Part of being sensitive, in my opinion, is to go some way towards understanding the leases (and I do mean leases), how to demand ground rent, how to propose works, how to collect service charge, responsibilities of a block-owning freeholder and the myriad of legislation that goes along with that, instead of getting angry.

          You need to realise it’s not every day that absentee freeholders resurface by posting on this forum.

          Does your wife intend to ask a few questions?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by scrappy View Post
            Ok then, she owns the freeholds on the flats.
            And you are right, I don’t know the jargon, probably why I listed the question in the first place, but as I can see you have to be a solicitor to post on this site, which seems at be a contradiction in terms as this site is supposed to be a forum.
            Scrappy

            There is a tendancy on here to take posts literally rather than apply a bit of common sense to try to get to what the original poster actually means. That is no better for getting us anywhere than posting using the incorrect terminology in the first place.

            HOWEVER, it is rather essential when talking about the freehold of a building, and the leasehold interests in the flats within the building, to be 100% clear as to whether the poster is talking about the freehold or the leasehold interests, and when coming onto a forum to ask advice it helps everyone if the facts are clear and accurate.

            It seems to me that you wife owns a freehold that she does not want. She wants to sell, and she wants to get as much money as she can for it. She does not need to sell this week, but sooner rather than later would suit her.

            She needs valuation advice from a Chartered Surveyor as to what the feehold is worth - or she can take a chance and rely on what peeople post on the net if anyone offers an opinion (they might be missing develoment value or some other mattter that only arises when reading the lease or inspecting the property).

            She cannot force the leaseholders to buy the freehold from her. Neither can she sell without offering them first refusal. This must be done in a formal way and needs a solicitor's involvement. Please have a read of -

            http://www.lease-advice.org/rfrmain.htm

            Assuming they do not buy then stick it in an auction and hope for the best, or PM me and I'll make her an offer!

            Comment


              #7
              Where is this block of flats? If the lessees don’t want it, maybe I could be interested in taking it off her hands.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Poppy View Post
                Where is this block of flats? If the lessees don’t want it, maybe I could be interested in taking it off her hands.
                I got in with first dibs!

                Comment


                  #9
                  As it is the freehold that she owns, and not the properties themselves, surely she would not be liable for any upkeep of the property.

                  This freehold is for a pair of purpose built flats in a two-storey, victorian, terraced, building.

                  Only wanted to know how to work out what might be the saleable value of these freeholds, as in my first post. Is it £100 as she was offered by that other solicitor (also in first post).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Read the lease. Responsibility for the building’s maintenance is specified in the lease. I’d be very surprised if the freeholder was not the person responsible and then all expense is recouped from the lessees.

                    Other members may be able to assist with a value.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Let us see if we can simplify the OP’s post by getting the following information. Assuming that his wife (THE WIFE!!!!!!!!) owns the freehold interest in the property, which has 2 flats, can you please fill in the following:


                      Flat A- (lower flat):

                      Commencement date of the lease:

                      Term of the lease: years

                      Ground Rent: (if variable, pattern of review):

                      Existing value of the flat:


                      Flat B- (upper flat):

                      Commencement date of the lease:

                      Term of the lease: years

                      Ground Rent: (if variable, pattern of review):

                      Existing value of the flat:


                      From the post thus far, my understanding is that the lady owed the upper flat, on which she had a mortgage, but at some later date she acquired the freehold interest subject to the 2 leases. In time her own property was either repossessed or sold but not the freehold interest.

                      If the above scenario is correct, then through total ignorance she has benefited, as with the passage of time the value of her interest has increased. On the other hand, she has been lucky that the property has not suffered damage by fire; storm etc. for if the property has not been adequately insured then she would have found herself in deep trouble-depending on the terms within the leases.

                      Please read the leases and find out whether she is responsible for insuring the building and her obligations for repairs etc. If she is, then I suggest that tomorrow morning she goes out and insures the same.

                      However, if she finds that all this is too much for her to handle then she offers her interest to the 2 contributors on this thread. Perhaps we can have the freehold interest auctioned and all others can join in. However she must not forget to offer the same to the lessees first.

                      Now what could be so simple? -Q.E.D
                      Kikuyu

                      Comment


                        #12
                        As per original post, the confusion started as, my wife had the leases to both properties, but this was only the original paperwork for the leasing company that was leasing the flats before they sold the properties on to the present owners, so the leases do not come in to it anymore but the original paperwork does show when the 99 year lease was last renewed, so it’s only the freehold that is owned by my wife, and that states that any maintenance is down to the flat owners.
                        The upstairs flat has 75 years left to run on its lease and its ground rent is £50 p.a.
                        The downstairs flat has 67 years left to run on its lease and its ground rent is £15 p.a.
                        Estimated price of the property (as of three months ago) is £180,000 per flat.
                        So whatever happens to the freehold it will have to be offered to the occupants first.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by scrappy View Post
                          As per original post, the confusion started as, my wife had the leases to both properties.
                          Eh? Was she the leaseholder of both flats? Who was the freehold reversioner at that time?
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                            Eh? Was she the leaseholder of both flats? Who was the freehold reversioner at that time?
                            Completely agree. Scrappy, you're still all over the place with your terminology.

                            Freeholder - Someone who owns property, free of any incumberance (spelling?).
                            Leaseholder - I prefer the term, RENTER. Someone who rents from the freeholder, usually on very long terms (99 - 125 or even 999 years).

                            Is your wife the freeholder of this block? So it appears. Check Land Registry to find out if possible (if registered).

                            She's now being asked to sell the freehold to the current lessees. £100 is very, very low if the leases are as you say.

                            She needs her OWN solicitor/surveyor to determine position and arrive at her own valuation. Be aware however, if she hasn't done ANYTHING for the last twenty years regarding the building, she could be opening a can of worms with maintenance issues etc that she would then be required to take responsibility for.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Is your wife the freeholder of this block? So it appears. Check Land Registry to find out if possible (if registered).

                              Yes, she is and yes its registered with the land registry.

                              Comment

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