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Tuesday 30th July 2013

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Total Number of Property118 Comments: 37


14:44 PM, 20th March 2017, About 5 years ago

Asbestos missed in Homebuyers report?

In 2002 we bought a ground floor flat in a large 1880's house converted into flats in 1930's. Communal central heating and hot water system installed at that time and still in use 70 years later! We commissioned a Homebuyers Report -- the resulting report was, to all intents and purposes, fine.
The property needed general refurbishment including rewiring which we decided to do before moving in. We contracted out the whole job to one company. Thank goodness we did. On the first day, as the old electrics were removed, the floor boards were lifted up to put the new cables in etc. and it was found that all of the communal central heating pipes were covered with asbestos cement as lagging. Much of it was in poor condition and had cracked/fallen off and been swept up into the corners out of the way!! Contractors downed tools and walked out. Our 6 week refurbishment programme became 4 months by the time licensed asbestos contractors lifted all our floors and totally cleared the voids and relagged the pipes with modern day lagging. Our refurbishment costs increased by nearly £15K (then!)
This was completely missed by the surveyor. There was not even a suggestion in the report that due to the age of the building, the date of conversion, and the existence of a communal CH system, that asbestos may be a possibility and that we should investigate further. We looked into the possibilities of taking legal action but were advised that it was only 50/50 chance of success. At that time the small claims court limit was very low,so not worth the bother, whereas today it is £10K so would have been! In the end, our freeholders contributed a reasonable sum towards the costs, but we had to swallow the rest.
15 years on, we still live in the property - very happily - and the communal CH /HW system is still going strong at 80+ years old albeit with 2 modern gas fired boilers now!
Good luck with your asbestos claim.... Read More


14:21 PM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

Who is responsible for what in joint Freehold?

I used to live in a flat with a similar scenario.
The lease stated that maintenance was on a 50/50 basis as and when needed.
It would make reasonable sense to have a similar arrangement yourselves if your lease doesn't state specific arrangements.
Your neighbour in the ground floor needs a roof, and you on the first floor need foundations and underground pipes. Roofs generally need repairing more often than foundations and drains, so it would be unfair to expect the first floor flat to be solely responsible for the roof.

If you lived in a house on your own, you are responsible for everything. In a 2 flat/joint freehold scenario, that 1 house has effectively just been divided into 2 parts. But you both need all the components that make the building up. Therefore 50/50 each.

1 word of warning though. You say that you have had the roof repaired at great expense to you. Whenever repairs are needed, especially if more major, you should jointly agree what is being done/costs etc. in advance, otherwise, in theory at least, your fellow freeholder could refuse to pay their share.

Good luck!... Read More


15:58 PM, 10th June 2016, About 6 years ago

I cannot grant myself a lease extension?

Is the freehold held on a separate tile number at the Land Registry from the leases?... Read More


16:03 PM, 27th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Replacing cross over lease with managment company?

Hi Lise,
I have read your post a couple of times. You really shouldn't have to repay your mortgage to TMW. You say that they won't go from leasehold to freehold in the current package - but the actual flat itself should not ever become freehold. Let me explain.
Once you have bought the FFF you can then restructure everything. The most common set-up is as follows:- You set up the Management Company - your solicitor can do this for about £150. The 2 leaseholders (OK- just you at the moment since you will own both flats!) are the directors of the company. You then create a new freehold title for the land on a new Land Registry title number. The company then holds/owns the freehold. Then you issue new up-to-date leases for both flats that are linked to the freehold title/company. The new leases can be for 999 years, abolish ground rent etc. and of course you can ensure that the maintenance provisions/sinking fund that you want are written in to them. Once all that is done, perhaps after some upgrading work to the FFF, you will then be able to sell it as a leasehold flat with a 50% share of the freehold. The new leaseholder will become joint director of the company with you on a 50/50 basis.
I personally have been through this process twice. Both my mortgages were with TMW and I didn't have to redeem them.
I have subsequently sold both flats concerned. Both were snapped out of my hands at a premium. "Shares of freehold" are still relatively uncommon in the grand scheme of things.
You really do not want to end up with a freehold flat. Lenders do not like them and they are difficult to sell. Any flat without a lease that is linked/accountable to the others in the building can suddenly become the problem occupier because they are the one without the rules/guidelines - even though that might be you!
Hope this helps.... Read More


13:36 PM, 27th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Replacing cross over lease with managment company?

Entirely agree with S E Landlord 's comment above.... Read More