Why do people buy leasehold properties ......

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    Why do people buy leasehold properties ......

    ...if they are not prepared to adhere to the terms of the lease. In previous posts I have explained my difficulties with certain l/h's relating to not supplying us with N/A's when purchasing their property and not paying ground rents, but after following advice given on this forum, I have been able to solve most of my problems and I thank all who gave me such good advice. I now have a further problem. It has just come to light that a number of our l/h's have extended their properties over recent years by falsely claiming to be the sole owner on planning applications, therefore we have not been notified of their intentions. The properties concerned were built by my late husband in the sixties in a quite 'up market' location in the North West of England and after an old friend recently had occasion to visit the area, she informed me that the properties had visually changed out of all recognition from the original design, which prompted me to investigate further through the relevant Government Planning portals. I just could not believe that, without exception, all 10 properties I have researched so far filled out Certificate A as the '..sole owner of the land to which the application applies', signed and dated to that effect. The properties concerned are in 2 locations and have differently worded clauses within the leases. One lease states: 'At all times hereafter to leave open and unbuilt upon such part of the plot of land hereby demised as is intended to form part of xxxxx Road aforesaid.' The second lease for the other location states: '..nor any dwellinghouse building or erection which being other than a boundary fence shall extend (except for the purposes of a porch or bay window) beyond the present building line nor any dwellinghouse building or erection which shall not as to the entirety thereof be in accordance with such plans and elevations as shall have been previously approved by the Lessor or his surveyors'. Although I have read other posts, I cannot find an answer as to what I should do next regarding this situation and would be extremely grateful for any advice anyone can offer me. Apologies for the length of this request and hope it is posted correctly.

    #2
    If a solicitor sends a buyer a copy of the lease to read, do you really seriously expect the buyer client actually to read it????
    RICHARD WEBSTER

    As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful (provided it relates to property in England & Wales) but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.

    Comment


      #3
      No, perhaps not, but I would expect a solicitor to have explained the contents of such lease and what the leaseholder can, and cannot, do BEFORE they commit to buying said property. In this particular case, the Certificates the leaseholders have to fill in, and sign, when applying for planning permission are quite explicit, therefore no mistake could be made whether, or not, they had read the terms of the lease. Quote from application form: "I certify/The applicant certifies that on the day 21 days before the date of this application nobody except myself/the applicant was the owner (owner is a person with a freehold interest or leasehold interest with at least 7 years left to run) of any part of the land or building to which the application relates" Unquote. Assuming they were compos mentis when they actually purchased the LEASEHOLD property, I would imagine they knew they were lessee's.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Pending View Post
        ...if they are not prepared to adhere to the terms of the lease. In previous posts I have explained my difficulties with certain l/h's relating to not supplying us with N/A's when purchasing their property and not paying ground rents, but after following advice given on this forum, I have been able to solve most of my problems and I thank all who gave me such good advice. I now have a further problem. It has just come to light that a number of our l/h's have extended their properties over recent years by falsely claiming to be the sole owner on planning applications, therefore we have not been notified of their intentions. The properties concerned were built by my late husband in the sixties in a quite 'up market' location in the North West of England and after an old friend recently had occasion to visit the area, she informed me that the properties had visually changed out of all recognition from the original design, which prompted me to investigate further through the relevant Government Planning portals. I just could not believe that, without exception, all 10 properties I have researched so far filled out Certificate A as the '..sole owner of the land to which the application applies', signed and dated to that effect. The properties concerned are in 2 locations and have differently worded clauses within the leases. One lease states: 'At all times hereafter to leave open and unbuilt upon such part of the plot of land hereby demised as is intended to form part of xxxxx Road aforesaid.' The second lease for the other location states: '..nor any dwellinghouse building or erection which being other than a boundary fence shall extend (except for the purposes of a porch or bay window) beyond the present building line nor any dwellinghouse building or erection which shall not as to the entirety thereof be in accordance with such plans and elevations as shall have been previously approved by the Lessor or his surveyors'. Although I have read other posts, I cannot find an answer as to what I should do next regarding this situation and would be extremely grateful for any advice anyone can offer me. Apologies for the length of this request and hope it is posted correctly.
        It's not worth litigating at this stage
        Dont complain and Dont admit to knowing of the breach of covenant!


        One day someone will write to you asking for a retrospective licence for the unauthorised extension built without application or the landlord's licence for alterations.

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you both for your time in responding to my question, I think I shall now have to start a new thread elsewhere in the forum.

          Comment


            #6
            The planning application forms were correctly completed if the leaseholder has more than 7 years remaining in the term of the lease.
            That meets the definition of owner you accurately quoted.
            (owner is a person with a freehold interest or leasehold interest with at least 7 years left to run)
            You may have rights as freeholder but the planning application form need contain no mention of your freehold reversion.

            Can you now make the leaseholder forfeit the lease for breaking these covenants and repossess the properties, or is that no longer possible now that cruel unscrupulous landlords tried it too often.

            Comment


              #7
              There is a Barratt estate near us. The guy who sold the land to Barratts as part of the deal retained the freehold. He now periodically goes around the estate looking for extensions or conservatories that have been added. They then get a letter from his solicitor offering to "legalise" the extension in exchange for a substantial sum of money. Most of the householders settle pretty quickly as it affects their chances of selling the property in the future. Even the fact that there is dispute will put most potential purchasers off.

              The guy is a real bundle of laughs - I believe he is even asking for money from someone who has put a birdhouse in their garden.

              Whilst it is not normally a plan of action I would approve of, in the OP case if done a bit more subtley it may be a solution.
              I also post as Chessy when sober

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for taking the time to read my post. The most recent application form filled in by one of the l'hs was in 2009, although all have the same choice of certificates to complete either A,B,C or D. Cert. A states as I quoted in first post. Cert B - '.. has given the requisite notice to everyone else who on the date 21 days before date of this application was the owner of any part of the land...' Cert. C is a declaration that all steps have been made to locate other owners. They must also state what steps have been taken to do so. Cert D is a declaration that they have been unsuccessful in serving notice on 'other owners' stating the reasons why. So, false declarations have been made, but not being one of the unscrupulous landlords referred to above, and never having found myself in such a situation ( all these applications seem only to have been made during the last 10 years) before that I always received notification from the l/h's for any alterations they wished to make, and I always agreed to them, charging no fees, in fact it costing me the return postage ! My problem at the moment is that I am being pressed by the solicitor acting for one of these l/h's who purchased their property in 2009 without sending a N/A (fee payable £1.05) and I ended up having to pay for information from Land Registry for the name of l/h as demands for ground rent made out to the previous l/h were ignored, they now want to buy the f/h for which they have offered £150 (10 x g/r of £15). I can see the wisdom in Quarterdays advise, but in this particular case I do not have time to wait without saying something, but I just do not know what !! I am of an age when being truthful filling out forms was taken for granted, without question, and I am finding it very difficult to believe so many of the leaseholders (all concerned having bought in the last 12 years) have not grasped the fact they purchased (I assume willingly and knowingly) a leasehold. Quite a number of our l/h's bought their properties from my late husband as new builds and are still living there. I found it heartbreaking to see letters sent from some of these long established tenants, now in their 70/80's, writing to the Planning Dept. objecting to the huge alterations planned next door for a number of reasons, and knowing that had they contacted me, I could have helped them - their objections were all overridden and applications granted.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Please don't misunderstand my posting, as I have every sympathy with your predicament when leaseholders do not observe the term of their lease which states that they need your permission to erect or alter the demised property.
                  That matter is a matter of Land Law.

                  It's just you are failing to realise that under Planning law, a certificate A is what needs to be completed by an applicant for planning permission who is "the owner" of the land, as a leaseholder with more than 7 years remaining on the term of the lease.

                  You own the freehold reversion of the land which, in planning matters, means you will only become "the owner" when the term of the lease expires.

                  You should not confuse these two aspects of the law.

                  Your tenants are wrong in not asking your permission.
                  They are not wrong in not telling you that they have made a planning application.
                  Only when they commence work that has not received your permission, as well as the planning authority's permission, are they breaking the law.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I am grateful for your interest in my problem, but I am afraid you are wrong. I have chosen the following at random to emphasize my point, although all councils have the same requirement http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/NR/rdon...downership.pdf You will see the law is quite clear regarding the Certificates. Also this http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/8/section/65

                    Comment


                      #11
                      In that case you and I will never agree as to who is regarded as "the owner" when completing planning applications, which I have been doing since 1974.

                      It is to be noted that in the Somerset web-site the words used include the word "or"
                      The term “owner” means a person having a freehold interest or
                      a leasehold interest the unexpired term of which is not less than seven years.
                      Your dispute will never be with the Local Planning Authority for granting permission, nor with the tenants for completing certificate A.
                      It will be with the tenants for breach of covenant.
                      That being a civil action, not a claim that there has been a breach of a statutory obligation imposed by planning law.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hello again Pilman. With respect, I think you are missing the point of this exchange which is the relevant word sole. With the best will in the world, leaseholders (nor agents on their behalf) can truthfully certify themselves (nor on their behalf in the case of agents), as being soleowners "of any part of the land to which the application relates". By signing Certificate A they are making a false statement, which is an offence, and carries a penalty. From what I can make out the wording changed at some point to nobody except myself/the applicant was the owner of any part of the land, or building, to which the application relates albeit the meaning of such words do not change. In the case of leaseholders Certificate B,C and possible D are appropriate. From the number of posts on this forum relating to unauthorized alterations to leasehold properties, and the shock some l/h's express when finding they have committed breaches of lease by doing so, leads me to believe some people just have no idea when purchasing a leasehold property, they are only purchasing a LONG LEASE, not the external parts of the building, nor the land on which it is built. I would suggest this obviously means either, some conveyancers have not explained the facts of leasehold ownership to them or, as Richard suggests above, they are simply not interested in the implications of LEASE ownership and are in complete denial of their situation. Again, with respect, I do find it a little worrying that even you, obviously being a professional in some area connected to planning applications, do not seem to interpret the actual wording of Article 12 certificates correctly either. You have quoted the Somerset web-site above, and you are quite right, it does use the word "or", BUT this is not the word you should be looking at, it is the words sole owner which are the relevant words. The following is from the Government web-site which is quite explicit in its advice as to what constitutes a sole owner. http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/upl...england_en.pdf

                        Comment


                          #13
                          There are two steps:

                          Step 1 we ask: Who is the owner for the purpose of making a planning aplication? The answer is "a person having a freehold interest or a leasehold interest the unexpired term of which is not less than seven years." That is quite clear. A person having a leasehold interest the unexpired term of which is not less than seven years who makes a planning application is therefore for the purposes of the application "the owner".

                          Step 2 we ask: What certificate is the owner to give? The government site is clear in its advice: "If the application involves a leasehold flat then certificate A does not apply as the applicant is not the sole owner." Having looked at the form of Certificate A and the explanatory notes that go with it it is not clear cut. At first sight it seems that certificate A is directed not at how many people have concurrent interests in the land, but at whether the owner owns all the land the subject of the application. For the governments site's interpretation to be correct it seems to require that on the one hand it is the owner that makes the application whilst on the other that the owner can be someone else to whom notice has to be given.

                          The fact that in the ten cases you looked into the leaseholders gave a certificate in form A does rather lead to the conclusion that the general impression is that that is the correct certificate to give when the application relates to a leasehold flat. It is surely stretching it to suggest that all ten leaseholders deliberately gave a false certificate.

                          Anyway, as Pilman suggests, I am not sure how you are helped if it is indeed the case that a leaseholder cannot give a certificate in form A. If rent is demanded or accepted after a "one off" breach comes to the notice of a landlord then the breach is waived. (Making alterations without consent is a one off breach.)

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