New freeholder wants to self contain the basement and stop us using it!Make Text Bigger
We have RTM of a block of 15 flats. There is a large basement which is marked in our leases as an ‘internal communal area’. Access to the basement is from a door at ground floor level in the communal hallway. There is a small room within the basement where all our meters are kept.
Our leases refer to this small room containing the meters as an ‘easement’. Other than this mention of an ‘easement’ to the meter room, our leases do not grant us any rights to the basement. Our old freeholder permitted all the flat owners to use the basement for storage. Our leases were not varied to reflect this use. Our leases do however include a provision for us all to contribute to the repair and maintenance of the basement.
Our new freeholder has just given us notice to remove all of our stored items from the basement. He states that he is not bound by any permission that the old freeholder gave us and he plans to self contain the basement and rent it out to a commercial user as an office. He plans to achieve this by creating another door to the basement (from the outside).
We will then have to share this new door with the commercial user so that we can continue to access our meters. We will not be able to access the rest of the basement though as only the commercial user will be given a key to the rest of the space. The existing door at ground floor level in the communal hallway will also be blocked up.
As a sweetener, our new freeholder has said that once self containment has been done, we will no longer have to contribute to the costs of repairing and maintaining the basement as these costs will be the sole responsibility of the commercial user.
My questions are these:
- Is there anything that we can do to stop the freeholder self containing the basement in this way. If so, what?
- Do we have to remove all our stored items as requested? We have been given 6 weeks notice
If we cannot stop the freeholder from self containing the basement, can we claim compensation for losing our use of the basement?
- Can we offer to buy the basement from the freeholder?
And before you ask, ‘no’, there is not enough interest to buy the freehold through collective enfranchisement.
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