Freeholder holding up our sale - please help!

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    Freeholder holding up our sale - please help!

    Since buying our property 3 years ago we have had a catalogue of issues with the then leaseholders (now freeholders) starting with an unsecured pot plant crashing through our conservatory roof and almost hitting my then 4 month old son (who was in his high chair at the time). After refusing to secure the remaining potplants, the council became involved and relations between us deteriorated. Since then, the people in question now own a share of the freehold. We are in the process of selling our property (we simply cannot wait to get away from these people) and are in a five strong chain. Eveything was going ok until our buyers solicitors asked our freeholders to answer various questions that arose from the survey (pretty standard stuff, building insurance, common areas, boundaries clarification etc). This was nearly a month ago and they have not replied, despite our solicitor sending them letters and e-mails staring that it is their legal responsibility. As a result, it is very likely we could lose our buyer and the whole chain collapse, ruining a lot of people (with young families) lives.
    Since being informed of our intended move, they have alos now decided that thay intend to have the whole roof replaced (on or around the stated date of our planned move) and that we will need to pay a £2000 contribution towards this. Frabkly, we'd pay double just to get away from them but we are also not sure of our rights of access to move (it will involve the erection of scaffolding). Can we ask them to postpone it until we move? (IF we ever manage to). And can anyone advise us on how we can get them to respond to the questions our buyers have. Our solicitor says that we would have to take them to court to get them to comply and although we would win, it would take months and we would obviously lose our buyers and our prospective new home in the process.
    I cannot believe these people are being so vindictive. Can anyone please help?

    Thanks.

    #2
    I think it is unwise to dissuade a freeholder from carrying out essential maintenance. There are many people out there suffering because of little or no action taken by freeholders. Come at it from a different angle - split the cost with the incoming buyer.

    If the freeholders do not volunteer the required information you will have to take court action against them.

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      #3
      Have they followed the 2002 reform in giving the required notice/ response time for the work.

      ie they say what work they intend to carry out and give one month (min) for comments and you to reply with a contractor of your choice.

      they then have to repeat the process before they can begin instructing contractors.

      If they haven't you can ignore it and only have to pay the first £250.

      Read your lease. The Leases associated with my property state "all times of the day or night and for all purposes connected with the enjoyment of the Flat to go pass and repass over through and along the front pathway". If they block your removers they will be in Breach of Your lease Scoffold or no Scaffold.

      Write to them stating your intended date and if any scaffold will interupt your removal guys you will hold them in breach. This will in effect change it from Breach to Wilful Breach which is more powerful.

      Comment


        #4
        Freeholders holidng up sale

        Hi Poppy, thanks for your reply. I would just like to make it clear that we never intended to dissuade the freeholders not to the do the maintenance work, just ask them to compromise and not do it around the time we plan to move - as it will restrict our access. We also have already suggested we split the cost with our new buyers. Frankly, the cost is irrelevant to us because we're that desperate to move. What IS an issue however, is the fact that the freeholders are holding up our sale by refusing to answer the questions they are required by law to answer. It seems there is little if anything we can do about it other than face a lengthy court battle.

        Comment


          #5
          Anna-Lou,

          Refusal to suply a schedule of the building insurance cover within 30 days is a criminal offence under the Landlord & Tenant Act ( 21 days under the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act ). You should use this fact to get the reply which your solicitor wants.

          1. Just go to the nearest Local Magistrates Court and report the criminal offence. The Court Manager/staff can help you to complete the form and attach a copy of the solicitor' s letter request for reply to all the questions raised by your propective buyer and any reminder letter totake into consideration.. Your freeholder should reply when they receive the Court Summons to avoid the maximum 2500 pounds penalty fine. You may be awarded costs for any solicitor's consultation.

          2. Make a summary of your problem and send it to CARL ( www.carl.org.uk) and to your local MP asking for a change in the law to abolish the residential leasehold system.

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