Transfer of land - Who owns what?

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    Transfer of land - Who owns what?

    Some background information: I'm the freeholder of a mansion house that contains four flats. I also live in one of the flats with my husband. There are two flats at basement level and there's a garden at the front which both overlook.

    Some of you may remember the problems I had with a noisy leaseholder and the LVT action that followed. Well, Mrs Noisy did go... There is now a new owner.

    But here is a new problem regarding that same flat. It's one of the basement flats. I'll call it Flat A. I'll call the other basement flat Flat B.

    The owner of Flat B transferred his half of the front garden to Flat A in 2005, before Mrs Noisy bought flat A, so Flat A became the owner of the entire front garden. When Mrs Noisy bought Flat A, the land wasn't transferred to her, so it remained in the names of the previous owners of her flat. Now that there is a new owner of Flat A, the land is still in the name of the couple who lived there before Mrs Noisy.

    I have no idea why the Land Registry records weren't updated when Flat A was sold (twice). I didn't receive a transfer notice and didn't know the transfer had taken place. I've just found out about the land still being in the old leaseholders' names today.

    There are trees on the patch of land in question that need to be cut back (very close to my windows at the moment, and getting closer), but both Flat A and Flat B claim that they aren't responsible for them.

    So, my question is: As the half of the garden that used to belong to Flat B was transferred to the previous owners of Flat A, but the records at the Land Registry have not been updated, who actually owns that piece of land?

    The owner of Flat B is trying to sell his flat and he wants me to sign a (retrospective) transfer notice for that half of the garden, confirming that I have no objection to the transfer. What should I do under these circumstances?

    Any help will be gratefully received. Those trees are very worrying.

    #2
    1. Do the leases prohibit a leaseholder from transferring part-only? Most leases do.
    2. If a supposed transaction is not registered against the property's already-registered title, it's ineffective.
    3. So who actually owns that piece of land is whoever is shown by HMLR as the current registered proprietor.
    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


      #3
      So B gets the land back, keeps the original consideration, an increase in value ( flat plus garden) all for the cost of a little tree pruning.

      I might take that deal.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
        1. Do the leases prohibit a leaseholder from transferring part-only? Most leases do.
        There's nothing prohibiting the transfer of part of the flat/garden. There's only the stipulation that the freeholder's notified of any transfer of the flat or part thereof within a month of it taking place and paid £3.

        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
        2. If a supposed transaction is not registered against the property's already-registered title, it's ineffective.

        3. So who actually owns that piece of land is whoever is shown by HMLR as the current registered proprietor.
        There's been a development since I posted. I've got my hands on the paperwork from the Land Registry, and it appears that when the land was transferred from Flat B to Flat A, it was registered to the wrong address. Mr & Mrs A of Flat A registered the land to themselves at Flat B's address. Haven't a clue how they managed to do that.

        Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
        So B gets the land back, keeps the original consideration, an increase in value ( flat plus garden) all for the cost of a little tree pruning.

        I might take that deal.
        I would too if it weren't for the fact that the only thing on that patch of land is trees. Very big and unruly ones on a steep rise. It's why neither flat wants the land... pruning once every three to four years and no benefit of actually using the land. It's a little money pit.

        Comment


          #5
          I received an email from the owner of flat B yesterday. His solicitor has told him that the land in question belongs to the couple who originally lived in flat A, despite the fact that they incorrectly registered it to the wrong address and then moved years ago. So, the old leaseholders of flat A, who haven't lived here for years, want to transfer the incorrectly registered land to the current owner of flat A.

          I've pointed out that a non-leaseholder cannot move land about at the property, as they have no lease and therefore no land here. But the current owner of flat B thinks he knows better. I've also told him that, as the transfer was botched, he still owns the land in question, but his conveyancer is telling him otherwise. This is a conveyancer who thinks forfeiture involves a 'section 126 notice', so I'm not sure he knows what he's doing.

          In the meantime, the current owner of flat A (who took over from Mrs Noisy) has breached the lease (there are actually two separate breaches) and shows no sign of being willing to put things right. I've sent notice and all that. So, even if it were possible for old leaseholders to shift land about, I won't acknowledge the transfer because of the breaches.

          If (and it's a big if) the owner of flat A pulls her socks up and the breaches are no longer a problem, and this transfer is somehow managed, I believe that the leases will need to be varied. How do I go about making sure that happens? The owner of flat B is opposed to this happening and will try to get out of doing it.

          Any advice regarding the above will be much appreciated. To be honest, I'm sick of the lot of them at this moment in time.

          Comment


            #6
            Unless I have missed something the area of land is split between flat A and B, and a former owner of A.

            It is then a matter for them to regualrise. As far as you are concerned some one owns the land and is responsible for it. You require whoever is recorded at HMLR as owner to trim the trees, and let them come to you to regualrise the leases and pay you your costs.

            You can always buy tree sheers and reach out of your first floor(?) window and trim back the nearest branches in the meantime.
            Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
              Unless I have missed something the area of land is split between flat A and B, and a former owner of A.
              The owner of flat B believes that the previous owner of flat A owns the land in question because he transferred it to them several years ago (without sending notice to me), but the transfer was botched and registered to the previous owner of flat A at the address of flat B. It was removed from flat B's title but not added to flat A's (presumably because of the error with the address). For some reason, both flat A and flat B thought that as long as the land was separate from both titles at Land Registry the leases wouldn't have to be varied and notice wouldn't have to be sent to me (it was a cost-cutting thing). They also seem to have believed that they could use the land without having to take care of it.

              So, basically, the land is registered to Mr & Mrs Non-Leaseholder (ex-flat A) at Mr Flat B's address. It's sitting out there, not obviously attached to any lease unless you go looking for it at the Land Registry.

              Mr & Mrs Non-Leaseholder want to transfer the land to the new leaseholder of flat A, but flat A is in breach (separate convoluted matter) and I can't sign any paperwork relating to them, which throws a spanner in the works.

              Can an ex-leaseholder own leasehold land?

              I've told the owner of flat B that when the land is transferred to... well, whoever... the leases will need to be varied. He thinks I'm talking nonsense.

              So, having never had a lease varied before, I don't know how I go about making sure that they are varied so that we never end up with this daft situation again and everybody is completely clear about who owns what and who is responsible for what.

              The daft thing is that flat B's owner is trying to sell his flat and he's had a buyer pull out already because of the land mix-up. Yet he is still trying to sell without having the situation sorted out and his lease varied.

              Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
              It is then a matter for them to regualrise. As far as you are concerned some one owns the land and is responsible for it. You require whoever is recorded at HMLR as owner to trim the trees, and let them come to you to regualrise the leases and pay you your costs.
              How do I go about getting them to vary the leases? I know they'll refuse to pay my costs, so is there a legal requirement that they pay them or would there have to be something in their leases to compel them to?

              Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
              You can always buy tree sheers and reach out of your first floor(?) window and trim back the nearest branches in the meantime.
              I was going to do that (had my saw ready too), but thankfully those branches were cut back quite suddenly, so I no longer fear gale force winds. The owner of flat B cut them back, presumably because he believed, for five minutes, that he owned the land in question. He changed his mind straight afterwards, but at least the windows are now safe.

              I don't mean to be cruel, but I have come to the conclusion, after eight years of dealing with things here, that I live with a bunch of muppets who don't know their arse from their elbow.

              Comment


                #8
                I'm confused... how exactly did they transfer the land (and the associated responsibilities) in the first place? Was there a deed of variation or something like that?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Tulula View Post
                  I'm confused... how exactly did they transfer the land (and the associated responsibilities) in the first place? Was there a deed of variation or something like that?
                  They simply transferred the land from flat B to flat A and created a third title record at Land Registry for that plot of leasehold land. The leases remained the same. The conveyancer dealing with it originally did tell flat B that there should be a variation of the leases, but he was ignored. Then the whole thing was kept secret until flat B tried to sell his flat.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So.. surely the obligations contained within the lease of flat B with regards the maintenence of the land remain enforceable, and the title registration problem is all theirs.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Tulula View Post
                      So.. surely the obligations contained within the lease of flat B with regards the maintenence of the land remain enforceable, and the title registration problem is all theirs.
                      I thought so, and that's what I told the owner of flat B. He was convinced for all of five minutes (which is when the trees were suddenly cut back from the windows). Unfortunately, his solicitor then told him that flat A's ex-leaseholder is still responsible for the land, and that I have rocks in my head.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        To be honest, I feel like I have rocks in my head tonight so I wouldn't rely on anything I say, but I think you should probably shove all the paperwork under a solicitors nose and see what they say. Or if your immediate problem is resolved, ignore them all and let them sort it out themselves.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tulula View Post
                          To be honest, I feel like I have rocks in my head tonight so I wouldn't rely on anything I say, but I think you should probably shove all the paperwork under a solicitors nose and see what they say. Or if your immediate problem is resolved, ignore them all and let them sort it out themselves.
                          I think I will go with option 2 for the moment, as the windows are safe... and for the sake of my sanity. I think they'll still be arguing about this at Christmas.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by InTheClouds View Post
                            I think I will go with option 2 for the moment, as the windows are safe... and for the sake of my sanity. I think they'll still be arguing about this at Christmas.
                            Tulula and I agree ( in separate posts) that the areas are owned and it for those parties to resolve and knock on your door to sign any paperwork.

                            As long as they do not prevent you from becoming in breach of any obligation you have, you need not be concerned or waste your money.

                            Perhaps you contact "our Jeffrey" as he is still happy to accept referrals from LLZ (despite being no longer active after the liberals self righteous putsch in TAB).
                            Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                              Tulula and I agree ( in separate posts) that the areas are owned and it for those parties to resolve and knock on your door to sign any paperwork.
                              The two flats and ex-leaseholder are supposed to be 'negotiating' at the moment. They've involved a managing agent, a letting agent, an estate agent and three solicitors, all of whom are expecting me to sort this out. I shall ignore the lot of them until they talk sense. And I'm not going to hold my breath.

                              Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                              As long as they do not prevent you from becoming in breach of any obligation you have, you need not be concerned or waste your money.
                              I doubt that the situation will affect me for some time now, as the windows are safe. The tree surgeons came and went while I was out, but they apparently worked to the notice I sent and it looks like they really made an effort to lop a lot of growth off - I think we'll not have any more window/tree issues for the next 2 to 3 years.

                              Perhaps you contact "our Jeffrey" as he is still happy to accept referrals from LLZ (despite being no longer active after the liberals self righteous putsch in TAB).[/QUOTE]

                              Jeffrey's gone? He'll be missed.

                              Comment

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