Purchasing a leasehold house, missing freeholder

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    Purchasing a leasehold house, missing freeholder

    Hi,

    I am looking for some advice. We are in the process of buying a house in Bristol. It is a 4 bed house and we have offered £280,000. Our solicitor has informed us that it is, in fact, leasehold. The lease was registered in 1906 for 999 years (absolute leasehold), however, the freeholder has been missing for "years". The current owners have not paid ground rent (£3.50 per year) and are willing to take out indemnity insurance. The land registry has no record of the freeholder.

    I have several questions.

    The attic has been converted without the freeholders consent. Does the vendors indemnity insurance cover us with regard to this in the, albeit unlikely, event that a freeholder turns up?

    We would be interested in buying the freehold, but understand this is a more lengthy and expensive process when the freeholder is absent. Is there anyway of estimating the cost of applying to the High Court to purchase the freehold? How can we get a freehold valuation?

    Finally, is it reasonable to renegotiate our offer when we have these figures (taking into account the long leasehold), given the fact that our initial offer was on the (mis)understanding that this was a freehold house?

    Thanks for any help/advice.
    Helen
    Last edited by Helend23; 10-06-2013, 17:22 PM. Reason: Spelling correction

    #2
    It depends if the lease requires consent for alterations or not.

    An indemity policy is wise for teh alterations if not comforting for a future owner.

    Any ground rent due is limited to 6 years under the Limitations Act 1980 so no IP is needed just keep £21.50 on hand!

    Unless there are unusual restrictions or requirements under the lease, then the cost of the
    investigation/enquiries to persaude a court you cannot find the freeholder ( unless of course it is well know FH with lots of units and are known to be long since gone)
    the Court proceedings, which are simple
    the value of the freehold -which is likely to be less than £200

    are a lot more than any reduction in the value of the freehold.
    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


      #3
      Better to buy the freehold which is likely for leasehold house with 999 years lease at 3.50 GR for cost to be 20x GR = 70 pds + legal costs.

      You need to do some research into recent LVT judgements.

      Comment


        #4
        The LVT won't have jurisdiction, the Court will determine a sale in the abscence of the freeholder, though the LVT might be asked to determine the terms.

        It's those fees and the tracking costs that are the impediment.
        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

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