My Loft space Vs Freeholder’s will to build more flats?

by Readers Question

6:53 AM, 9th June 2017
About 2 years ago

My Loft space Vs Freeholder’s will to build more flats?

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My Loft space Vs Freeholder’s will to build more flats?

I’ve recently purchased a lease hold, top floor flat, with a leasehold stating the loft space is part of the flat.

Moved in couple of weeks ago, and settling in.

Two weeks later (yesterday) i received a call from the freeholder himself wanting to arrange a meeting about buying the loft space, so he can build more flats above me.

This is obviously a shock to me, as there were no mention from the previous owner or the solicitor regarding the plan whatsoever.

So can I, in principle stop the freeholder from building more flats? What if i refuse to sell him the loft space?

Do I have the right to do so?

Alex



Comments

Neil Patterson

6:55 AM, 9th June 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Alex,

Please also see our recent article >> https://www.property118.com/leasehold-property-alterations/99492/

Leasehold Property and Alterations

“Who repairs what?” and “Who owns what?” These are two fundamental questions that any leasehold owner looking to do works to their property must ask and get the answers to. The answer will be found by reading and interpreting your lease. For instance, a common enquiry relates to wanting to develop into the roof space…. Read more

David Price

8:32 AM, 9th June 2017
About 2 years ago

You own the loft space, albeit on a lease, so you are in control of the situation. How about suggesting a profit sharing deal with you getting the lions share of the profit?

Martin Roberts

22:40 PM, 9th June 2017
About 2 years ago

Before agreeing to this keep in mind possible noise from above.

Freda Blogs

23:18 PM, 9th June 2017
About 2 years ago

If the loft is within your demise there is not a lot the freeholder can do without buying you out and agreeing a variation of the lease.

If you don’t want to sell, the matter could end there. However, if at some time in the future you wish to do some works within the loft space, depending on the terms of your lease you will almost certainly need the freeholder’s consent, and you may experience some difficulty at that time.

Your next step might depend on how any extension into the left would work. If you can create another unit in the loft space satisfactorily from within your own unit without undue impact/value diminution to your current flat, you may to choose to ‘go it alone’ and deal within any consent issues at the time. Alternatively, if to create an additional flat would require access over common parts i.e. areas governed by the freeholder (such as providing an external staircase), you may need to develop in partnership with him (or sell out the loft to him).

My suggestion is that you ask him to put a proposal to you for consideration before you attend a meeting. He will have had a lot more time to think about this than you have, so try and get a better idea of his plans before you meet. Do take proper professional advice from a surveyor because you have a potentially valuable asset and you should look to get the full value for it, as well as recognising what the adverse impact to your present flat might be, both physical and financial.

H B

8:06 AM, 10th June 2017
About 2 years ago

As Freda says above, make sure that you understand the true value of this loft space if you choose to go ahead with selling it.

The freeholder's offer is likely to be significantly short of the true value. Do not sell something for £10,000 that might be worth £50,000.

Nick Pope

15:20 PM, 10th June 2017
About 2 years ago

Quite simply if the lease states the roof void is yours then it probably is and in the absence of any over-riding rights of the freeholder (as said before - read the lease) then I think you probably have the whip hand.
On the assumption that the freeholder will make a profit then you should be able to lever at least some of the profit on the deal over and above the adverse afect on the value of your flat. Someone has mentioned the lion's share. I would agree if you are doing all ther legwork, getting planning, providing finance etc. then you would be due to a high percentage but if not then I would suggest that approx. 1/3 of the profit would be reasonable. As someone has mentioned you can't go it alone without the freeholder.
Other things to think about - are you currently responsible for the maintenance of the roof structure? If you are then lifting this burden might in fact enhance the value of your flat. Is it just one floor above or more? Could your energy costs may be reduced as you will have another heated space above you? Are there any issues over party walls - the Party Wall etc Act 1996 makes great bedtime reading - it applies to floors/ceilings as well. Are there any rights or restrictions in the lease which could allow other leaseholders to block such plans and could they ask for part of the profit.
These situations can be very complex and the best advice I can give is:
1) Read the lease - if you flounder then ask your solicitor to explain the legalese.
2) Employ a professional to look at the whole deal and advise if it's right for you and whether the profit available is worth the hassle. I would suggest a Chartered Surveyor would be best placed to give this type of advice, preferably one who has dealt with development of this type before.

Puzzler

11:21 AM, 13th June 2017
About 2 years ago

The other leaseholders (if any) would also need to be consulted. You need a specialist solicitor and surveyor. Don't scrimp on this.


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