Freehold issue - owner not traceable - long post!

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    Freehold issue - owner not traceable - long post!

    Hi all,

    New member, apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong section.

    I bought a flat 21 years ago, it's leasehold. The first few years the ground rent was paid without issue. I moved overseas, leased the flat through an agent, contacted the mortgage lender & went through the correct steps. My relative was responsible for paying the ground rent, not the agent. The flat is an upstairs one, the property being a house converted into two flats.

    A few years ago it transpired that the ground rent had not been paid. When I asked my relative about this, he said he had not received any response to letters he sent to the name & address I gave him asking about the ground rent. The lease is running down, I believe it is now at 60 or 62 years.

    I contacted the lease registry and the owner of the freehold is not registered with them. I have received advice that I can go to court to forcibly (for want of a better word) renew the lease to a total of 90 years. As I do not plan to sell I do not wish to do this at present. I am also given to understand that this is an expensive process.

    I send a letter to the downstairs tenant to ask if they knew who the owner was but have had no reply.

    Work has just been carried out on the leaking roof & the cost was quite pricey. I would be happy just to find the freehold owner, pay what's owed and claim back for what they're responsible for re: the roof, however I'd also like to see if I can buy the lease.

    Setting aside the careless relative who misplaced the last known address of the freehold owner (my responsibility! ) , I wonder what I can do now. I have heard about agents who 'buy' unclaimed leases. Does anyone know if this is an option?

    Many thanks for any advice, and again, apologies if I've put this I'm the wrong place.

    So who did you pay gr too ? And i assume that you organised and paid for the roof works ?
    Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

    I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

    It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

    Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.


      HMLR should have an owner registered on the registered freehold title as some 30 odd years ago leases were granted.

      If not then the Court can grant a new lease in their absence, but if your existing leases put obligation on the freeholder to repair roofs etc or insure, that will create a problem in due course for you both when it comes to selling etc You might as well ask the court to look at transferring the freehold, solving the problem as well as extending the lease, or at least exercising the right to manage.
      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.



        Hi, thanks for the replies.

        I paid the ground rent to the person with the freehold, when I bought the flat we were originally in contact. When I left the country that's when the communication dropped off.

        The roof repairs have been paid for by me and have been carried out.

        I applied to the Land Registry for the details but they said they had nothing. I was really surprised by that, to be honest. As I said, I can't see the point of going through applying through the court to extend the lease when I'm not thinking about selling at the moment.

        It's a pain! If I could just find the freeholder I could start the renewal process or even ask if they want to sell it. That's why I was asking about people who buy leases. I wondered how that worked.

        Thanks again.


          Well as the lease gets shorter the price of the extension increases. The court will set a value on that and you must pay that to the court as they hold it until and if the freeholder suddenly appears.

          If you buy the freehold. via the Court, through say the 87 Act rules, where they have failed to maintain the property, the valuation is far more favourable to leaseholders, and therefore your lease extension will be cheaper

          This wil always in any case take some time so you should allow 6 months before even thinking of extending or selling.
          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.


            Thank you. I'm dreading it because I'm sure it will be an expensive venture, however it will need to be done at some point.

            Now for a lottery win!


              You have the right to get a statutory 90 years extension on your existing lease with 60 years unexpired .

              You can get free guides on lease extension procedure from and how valuation is calculated for cost of lease extension.

              See sample calculation of cost in the free guide

              The cost at 68 years unexpired came to 10.7K but the cost at 50 years unexpired came to 27K.

              This means putting off the decision to seek the statutory 90 years extension may be costing approx 1000 pds per year delay.


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