How long can a freeholder take to respond?

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    How long can a freeholder take to respond?

    I have just exchanged on a flat and have approached the freeholder about a couple of minor changes; this was done via my solicitor as part of the conveyancing.

    To date, after circa 8 weeks, we have had no response.

    Does anyone know whether the freeholder can take as long as they like or can you compel them to respond within a set window of time? If the requests were for something major, such as knocking down walls and building extensions, then it may take them time to consider and assess, but these are low-impact changes. I have seen people ask similar questions and the replies seems to be along the lines of, "they must respond within a reasonable amount of time." However, my idea of reasonable and someone else's might not be the same.

    It is very annoying as once I complete I'll need to get the place renovated and rented out. If they respond after this , then there's no point as I'll want continuity of tenancy and not take the cost of void months and undoing work already done.


    The freeholder could be someone who does not reside in the UK or any amount of variables. I remember years ago writing to someone who had been deceased 2 years but his estate not finalised!

    Is this a property company or an individual - bearing in mind your solicitor may have taken 2 weeks to sent the communication and Christmas and New Year delays I might try direct contact by phone myself this time

    Freedom at the point of zero............


      Hi Interlaken. It's a company and, from what I can glean from the net, they own a large number of freeholds across the UK. Your point about the solicitor taking time over sending their communication is a valid one, but I'm informed it was sent back in November and that they are chasing this now.

      I did try to contact the freeholder myself, via their appointed management company, but was told that as I did not own the flat they would not communicate with me. They weren't rude - just very clear.


        You said contracts had been exchanged.

        I wonder why you have waited until after exchange of contract to bring up these issues. Have they only just become apparent to you?

        If you have exchanged, vendors don't need to provide any further answers. If not, well, it could be any number of things. The vendor should not deal with you, it should be solicitor to solicitor.

        Are you able to describe the issues in more detail?

        What date is completion?


          Hi Sad S. Thanks for the reply but you've misunderstood the situation. First of all, the question has been asked of the freeholder, not the vendor (they are not one and the same). Secondly I was aware of what I would want to do to the flat some time ago, hence my solicitor making the request to the freeholder back in November. The fact that we have just exchanged was simply a trigger for me to ask my solicitor to chase the freeholder as completion is due at the end of January and we've heard nothing.

          The issue is that as soon as I complete, I will want to start works on the flat straight away. If the freeholder drags his/her heels then either I start work anyway and risk breaching the terms of my lease, or I simply don't do it. Once the flat is tenanted then I suspect the work will never get done, or not for a long time. The works are things such as the laying of a hardwood floor with an acoustic underlay; the lease, written back in the 1980s, stipulates carpet, presumably to minimise noise impact on the ground floor flat.

          However, whether the freeholder says 'yes ' or 'no' to the works isn't really the question. Rather it was, 'how long can they take to respond?'


            I would think it unlikely that the FH will agree.

            And if they do it will be on the proviso that no complaints are received from other residents. One complaint down the line and bye bye wooden floor.

            Wooden floors in flats are a nightmare, even if the underlay reduces footfall noise all other noise will be amplified by the wood.


              Since the OP is not yet the tenant the landlord has no duty at all to reply.

              What duty they have after completion depends on what the lease says and what the OP wants to do.


                Thanks for the responses all. The general feeling I'm getting is that there's no answer to this one. My instinct is saying do as little as possible within the bounds of the lease and forget everything else. After all, in the short term this will be a rental machine and I can't afford to hang around for someone who's not motivated to reply. Still, it will be interesting to see how quick they are to chase me up when they want money for works to the property...


                  I'd forget the hard flooring idea if the lease says carpet.

                  A fellow freeholder nearly had me in court over what she 'thought' was in my lease. Turned out all the leases were different and hers ( a GFF) did say 'good quality carpet and underlay' - mine didn't.

                  Don't go there is my advice.

                  Freedom at the point of zero............


                    Thanks Interlaken. I'm convinced.


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