Dispute between previous owner and freeholder of shared areas

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    Dispute between previous owner and freeholder of shared areas

    We have recently purchased a property at auction that had been repossessed. It is a converted barn on a development with 9 others. In the legal pack, there was reference to a dispute between the freeholder of the shared land (shared areas, approach road to property, roads around properties, parking spaces etc) and the owner. The approach road to the properties was resurfaced at a cost of £71k, with this cost to be split equally amongst the 10 property owners. The previous owner of the property I bought had allegedly not paid his or her share. Before the property went to auction, they had an offered accepted via an estate agent. However apparently the freeholder was able to block the sale via the management company (who now manage the shared areas etc on behalf of the freeholder), due to the outstanding debt of £7,100.

    Despite several requests from the company on behalf of the mortgage company, the only evidence supplied was a very dodgy looking invoice made out to a limited company that doesnt appear to exist, or at least isnt registed at companies house. No evidence of correspondence between the freeholder of the land and the previous owner was provided, nor any evidence of actual payment for the work.

    I have been to visit the property, and the work has definitely been done. Its quite a nice job actually However, there are certainly some fishy parts to the story.

    We have nearly finished a small refurbishment on the property and will be marketing it for sale soon. I do not want the freeholder to be able to block the sale, so I want to settle the debt. I did consider trying to contest the value, however, it hardly seems worth the effort. I have contacted the solicitor named in the legal pack, and I have not received a reply. After doing a bit of google searching, it seems this solicitor firm has closed down.... in fairly acrimonious circumstances. I have tried contacting the management company to see if they can help, but as the debt is not owed to them, they have not been that helpful. They have tried to get in touch with the freeholder, as they cannot give me his details, but still have not got in touch with him.

    Does anyone have any advice as I am really at a loss how to proceed? I do have the bank details and invoice relating to the debt, however I am reluctant to pay it without some confirmation from the freeholder that the matter is closed and he will not unreasonably block the sale. Maybe the management company will get in touch with him soon. What I dont want to happen is to be have a sale agreed, then suddenly this £7,100 debt becomes a £10,000 debt or some other arbitrary number!

    Thanks in advance for your help

    What isn't clear is whether each of the barns is a leasehold title rather than a freehold title.

    It would have been possible for a developer to sell of the converted houses and to retain ownership of the roads and common areas.

    Then each sale would have included a provision to pay part of the cost of maintenance even though the converted barn could have been sold with a separate freehold title.

    Then each propertywould have easements granted with all rights of way conditional on paying a fair share of maintenance of the roads.

    That is completely different to each barn being a leasehold title with a lease that sets out all the requirements imposed by the Lessor who retained the freehold title.

    Perhaps if those facts were known some advice about th ecurrent situation coul dbe offered, although if you have now become the registered owner of this barn, it does not seem that the freeholder was able to stop the sale from being completed.

    That begs the question how did this freeholder stop the other sale?


      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Just out of the blue yesterday the management company contacted me with a new invoice, and the freeholders bank details, so I could settle the invoice. This has been duly paid. Notwithstanding the fact that the amount was questionable, settling it was the prudent thing to do in the circumstances.

      The barns are all freehold, so I think it is exactly like you suggest above. It is a good question how the freeholder was able to stop the other sale. I doubt I will ever know!


        The sale [your purchase] shouldn't have gone through until this had been settled. Mortage compaqny has got away with it. Was the dispute notified to you prior to purchase? If it wasn't then sue the mortgage company.
        There is always scope for misinterpretation.

        If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

        Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.


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