developing a leasehold flat with missing landlord

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    developing a leasehold flat with missing landlord

    Dear members, I am considering purchasing a flat in auction with the following known issues and will appreciate your advice as it will help me decide if I should go ahead or not?
    1- A ground floor flat sandwiched between two terraced houses where the lease states that title is only for the ground floor. Can I add another floor to the property as above the ground floor is a void space. The property is between two 2 storey adjoining properties either side of it.
    2- The lease states that any development is subject to the landlord's permission which will not be unreasonably withheld however, the landlord ( a development company) is missing and presumed to no longer exist as I cannot find any record in the companies house.
    3- I am considering adding another floor to the property, subject to the planning compliance. Can I take out indemnity insurance to cover the lack of permission due to the missing landlord?
    4- what about the existing title relating to the ground floor only? Will it prevent me from adding another floor?
    Any advice gratefully received.
    Thanks
    Fraser

    #2
    Sounds risky but rewards might be worthwhile. Ideally you need to get the freehold title, if there is no trace at all on Companies House then it could be registered offshore, if it has simply closed down then the title could pass to the Crown / treasury solicitor.

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      #3
      Thank you for your prompt and useful response. Would I be able to proceed with the freehold purchase immediately or do I have to wait 2 years as per the s42 requirements? Do I have the right to build in the air space above the property?

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        #4
        A dissolved company's property vests in the Crown, so you can approach the Treasury Solicitor's department that deal with "Bona Vacantia" land, although that fact may not be known to the Treasury Solicitor since it is probably impossible to keep track of a company's property when it goes into liquidation.

        I was going to post that building in the air space above an existing leasehold flat is not the same as altering the flat.
        It is more akin to taking adverse possession of part of the freehold title that extends above the leasehold flat.
        If this freehold is now Bona Vacantia with title vested in the Crown, it would require 30 years of adverse possession before legal title could be claimed, so dealing with the Treasury Solicitor to try and buy the freehold would still be the sensible option.

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          #5
          Thankyou for very useful advice. I am now far better informed about the consequences of the decision to purchase and the steps after the completion of transaction.

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