Freehold sale – First refusal?

by Readers Question

10:17 AM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

Freehold sale – First refusal?

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Freehold sale – First refusal?

I would like to know if I have the right to first refusal on the freehold of the property I own a lease on. I bought the flat with a ninety-nine year lease, the occupants in the other flat did likewise, after a number of years the freeholder put the freehold up for sale, both myself and the other tenant put in a bid to buy the freehold, because of an incompetent solicitor the other tenant somehow ended up with the freehold.

The years passed, and I was in a position to extend my lease, so my lease has got over a hundred and fifty years to run. Now the freeholder has died and left the property to his family who have sold the property on with a new lease plus the freehold to what I suspect is a property developer.

The property is a semi-detached three-story building split into a two-bedroom ground floor flat and a two-floor maisonette with four to five bedrooms with full planning permission.

I would like to know if I have again lost out on the freehold and can the new freeholder/leaseholder alter the maisonette to a number of flats going against the stipulations in my lease.

Thank you.

John


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Comments

Puzzler

9:33 AM, 18th July 2020
About 2 months ago

It will depend on the wording of the other lease but if it says the property may not be partially disposed of (which is a usual clause) then you are OK.

Dates would be useful here.

Do you want a share of the freehold? Presumably you have been advised of the sale as required by law. Yes you do have the right to purchase it from the current owners at the same price they paid. You need to get a decent solicitor and surveyor. But you should be able to make preliminary enquiries. I don't quite understand how you missed out first time round as it would have been quite straightforward. Are you in London? If not, there are fewer specialists.

Is there ground rent? The risk is you are at their mercy for service charges otherwise with a long lease you're probably OK. Do you live there?

https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/right-first-refusal/

Read your lease....

Of course they might be interested in buying if that is on your radar

Note I am not an expert so please get specialist advice

John cooney

12:47 PM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 18/07/2020 - 09:33Hi, thanks for replying, the reason I did not get a share of the freehold first time around was because of an incompetent solicitor, yes I do live in the property, when I extended the lease the ground rent was £50 per year but this was changed to £0,
My lease states that I pay one-third of any charges and the maisonette owner pays two-thirds, my problem is the owner of the maisonette is the leaseholder and the freeholder who I now know is a property developer and is hoping to split the maisonette into a number of self-contained flats on the two floors.

gcat uk

12:22 PM, 9th September 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Hi,

Have you talked to a specialized solicitor about this? It sounds as though the first time the freehold was sold you were incorrectly left out of the sale process (and you can claim against that freeholder). He should have served you and the other tenant an S5 notice, and you and the other tenant would have had to jointly accept the notice and initiate the freehold transfer. If the landlord did not serve the S5 notice, he is committing a criminal offence (see https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/right-first-refusal/#s-16-1). Let's say you want to ignore this and pursue the purchase now. If the freeholder is not a resident of the building and there are only two tenants (you being one of them(, then again, the correct process is for the landlord to issue an S5 notice to both tenants, his failure to issue the notice is a criminal offence. If both of you agree to purchase the freehold, then you initiate the process to accept the offer and follow the steps. If the offer is not accepted, then the landlord is free to sell to whoever wants to buy it (after a period of time), but at the same price he demanded when offered to you.

John cooney

16:04 PM, 19th September 2020
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by gcat uk at 09/09/2020 - 12:22
Hi, thanks for the reply, I need to explain the situation a bit more clearly, because of an incompetent solicitor I did not get a share of the freehold first time round, I accept that because it was about 15 years ago, the property is a three-storey semi detached house split into a ground floor flat and a first and second floor maisonette, when I bought the ground floor flat it was on a 99 year lease, the maisonette was also sold on a 99-year lease, the owner of the maisonette was the person who bought the freehold because of my incompetent solicitor, so now it is a property with just 1 lease holder,me. Moving forward to the present day, the freeholder has died and left the property to his family who have sold the property including the freehold to a new owner so I dont know if I have any rights regarding getting a share of the freehold. My main problem now is that I know the new owner is a property developer and has every intention of using the maisonette for a comercial use, either a shared property/multiple occupation, or student property, my lease states only one family can live upstairs, I believe this would break the conditions of my lease and would also break the planning conditions of the local authority, what would my legal standing be against these breaches?


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