Can we all use the garden? freehold title is separate from the leases

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    Can we all use the garden? freehold title is separate from the leases

    Hi. Victorian house split into three flats.

    Around 2008 we all purchased the freehold from the original freeholder equally. (The original freeholder was previously also the owner of the basement flat, until he sold that in 2004). We had always assumed the garden belonged to the basement flat.

    However I've been looking at the Land Registry titles for each flat. There are four titles in total - three original lease titles (separate Title Numbers) for our own flats, with our own particulars. On each of these the corresponding property outlined in red is purely the physical floor plan of the respective flat. Each flat has it's own address as 14a, 14b and 14c.

    eg this is the one for 14a (the basement flat):

    lease_plan.jpg

    The fourth Title is the single freehold title that we all purchased in 2008 - it has a single Title Number, and all three of us are named as Registered Owners, and we have Title Absolute. On this title plan, the entirety of the land including the building is outlined in red:

    freehold_plan.jpg

    The use or ownership of the garden is not mentioned in any of the titles for any of the flats. Nor is anything about demised premises (I don't really know what that means but I saw it mentioned with some leases and garden use).

    So my question is simple(!) - does the garden 'belong' to the basement flat, or in fact are we all able to use it equally?

    Any advice appreciated

    #2
    Originally posted by coolhands View Post
    The use or ownership of the garden is not mentioned in any of the titles for any of the flats.
    It will be mentioned in the leases but the leases aren't shown in their completeness in the Land Registry title document that you probably got.

    Nor is anything about demised premises (I don't really know what that means but I saw it mentioned with some leases and garden use).
    "Demised premises" are what the freeholder has granted over to the leaseholder in the lease. So they should be mentioned in your lease. Basically, if the freeholder has demised the garden to the ground floor flat's lease then only the leaseholder of that flat can use the garden. If the freeholder has not demised the garden to any of the leases then it remains with him and he may have granted all leaseholders an easement to use the garden communally.

    So my question is simple(!) - does the garden 'belong' to the basement flat, or in fact are we all able to use it equally?
    As always it depends on what it says in the lease

    Comment


      #3
      based on your post each flat owns the flat area marked in red and as long as the basement flat lease is the same, they might grant a right in each lease to use the garden, or the BF might claim to have acquired exclusive rights over time to use it. If not then as leaseholders there is no right to do so, but you can do so as freeholder. it might be sensible however to reach a form of agreement to its use and restrictions on activities
      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
        Thankyou both for your replies.
        Originally posted by mattl View Post
        It will be mentioned in the leases but the leases aren't shown in their completeness in the Land Registry title document that you probably got.
        Where can I get a copy of the leases then? I do not believe I have anything further. Is that where I need to submit a form OC2 to get it? I don't think the other owners have any 'fuller' version of the lease either. None of us seem to have much knowledge or documentation,

        Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
        based on your post each flat owns the flat area marked in red and as long as the basement flat lease is the same, they might grant a right in each lease to use the garden, or the BF might claim to have acquired exclusive rights over time to use it. If not then as leaseholders there is no right to do so, but you can do so as freeholder. it might be sensible however to reach a form of agreement to its use and restrictions on activities
        I am trying to understand what you have said ( ) All the short copies of the leases I have obtained online are virtually the same, and none of them appear to grant any right whatsoever apart from talking about 'land to the east...' with regards to access and services (there is an alley between our houses and the next which it is talking about). If I understand what you are saying there may be no right for any of us as leaseholders, but is as freeholders?

        By the way leaseholdanswers, I've read some of your previous posts about freeholds and flats etc - is it possible you could pm me your email address so I can ask about that? We don't have any form of association or management company. Indeed, myself and the chap that owns the top flat just paid £5.5k to fix the roof, the basement guy doesn't seem to want to put in. I'm not going to start a war but I'm thinking of what we should set up for future events.

        Comment


          #5
          We have had a similar situation where the freehold company owned the garden but only 1 flat could use it and had always used it. The Company sold it to the flat for 10K and the profit divided between the shareholders.

          At present it looks like your garden is a communal one and as shareholders in the freehold company which you can all use if you all have access. Alternatively you could divide it between the 3 of you or sell it to the basement flat.

          Comment


            #6
            Yeah the basement flat guy is never really interested he just rents the flat out. We would all like to use it really rather than sell it to one or other. It is accessible to all from the side alley between houses.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by coolhands View Post

              By the way leaseholdanswers, I've read some of your previous posts about freeholds and flats etc - is it possible you could pm me your email address so I can ask about that? We don't have any form of association or management company. Indeed, myself and the chap that owns the top flat just paid £5.5k to fix the roof, the basement guy doesn't seem to want to put in. I'm not going to start a war but I'm thinking of what we should set up for future events.
              You need to get all 3 leases and see how the service charges are divided.

              Comment


                #8
                As mentioned, you need to get tyhe full lease, its surprising though that you 'purchased the freehold' without seeing it, did you use a solicitor/conveyancer who had a copy ?

                It appears you just have thebought the £3 Title Registers from Land Registry, you have to apply for the full lease(s) using OC2 form
                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.

                Comment


                  #9
                  ok thanks. Yes we all had to use three different solicitors plus one for the original freeholder. It dragged on for about 4 years between the freeholder and solicitors there was always someone unavailable to sign whatever was req. They may have seen it I don't know - it was really quite farcical. In the end I was happy to simply get it completed!

                  I will apply on the OC2 form. I think my old solicitor will have a heart attack if I try and chance anything up on this old case! They were glad to be rid of it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by coolhands View Post
                    I will apply on the OC2 form. I think my old solicitor will have a heart attack if I try and chance anything up on this old case! They were glad to be rid of it.
                    Since you are a co-owner of the freehold you will have received full copies of all four leases (for all four flats) as part of the conveyancing pack, because those are what governs the freeholder. If you didn't get them then you need to request it from the solicitor. No need to waste £50 for getting copies from Land Registry again...

                    I'm slightly surprised that you know so little about what your obligations are given that you also own the freehold and thus have quite a bit of responsibility and risk in this...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Also, the bottom flat owes you for the roof costs of £1375.

                      No if ands or buts.

                      Can I come and live there please, so that i do not have to pay ANY service charges, and will also increase the value of the flat -- Look , no service charges ! ! !all you other 3 pay my service charges for me !
                      . . . .. suckers !

                      Comment


                        #12
                        ram,

                        Not quite sure I understand you?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          MORE IMPORTANT than the garden issue, is not receiving monies for service charges.

                          coolhands said : -

                          1) Yeah the basement flat guy is never really interested he just rents the flat out.
                          2) myself and the chap that owns the top flat just paid £5.5k to fix the roof, the basement guy doesn't seem to want to put in. I'm not going to start a war.

                          Forget the Garden, issue the service charge demands and summary of rights and get MONEY in.THEN worry about the Garden.

                          The freeholder is by law obliged to get a percentage of the service charges from the leaseholders ( read the lease everyone )

                          Sounds like coolhands can't be bothered to collect the service charges from the basement flat .
                          She says I'm not going to start a war - which is stupid. The others can sue coolhands for knowingly making the others pay the basements flat's service charges. -- I Would, no hesitation whatsoever.

                          So coolhands, forget the garden, get the money in.

                          R.a.M.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ram View Post
                            She...
                            Hey!

                            anyway. I've actually found the full lease from when I purchased the flat. Nowhere does it mention the garden, I obviously need a copy of the lease for the basement flat to see what it says.

                            RAM is right the owner of the bottom flat should contribute. But, what do we do it he doesn't? Me and the owner of upstairs have paid, equally, because it needed doing and we're not short-sighted; there's no point ruining the building by leaving it leaking! However, the owner of the bottom flat is, I'm afraid to say, your typical london absent landlord - couldn't give a damn about obligations, and likes to stay incommunicado at the merest hint of expenditure. How would you propose we get any money out of him? I suppose legal route - but just trying to understand the lease is hard enough, and I'm not sure we'd get value for money by hiring lawyers to go after him.

                            His excuse when we discussed the roof issue recently was that I had not paid much mind when he was talking about his kitchen being damp a year or two ago. He was having his kitchen gutted and refitted and it is apparently damp. I have to admit I feel little sympathy because it's built practically underground so I can only see that complete 'tanking' would solve the issue which would cost a fortune. Should we all be paying for that type of thing?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              ps if I can legally use the garden it would increase the value of my flat by a hell of a lot more than £5.5k so the garden is quite important!

                              Comment

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