11:40 AM, 22nd March 2016, About 6 years ago 7
I am a owner of a upstairs maisonette in the London area. Price is about £350K for 2 bed I have the back garden and the downstairs own the front. The freeholder used to live downstairs but sold approximately 18 months ago and when she did she could not sell the freehold the the new buyer without offering me the freehold first.
She made an offer of 10K to me just our of the hat (she is greedy business woman) I told her my position at the time that my lease has 149 unexpired years and is reduced to a peppercorn so I didn’t really see the appeal in paying 10K just because she is selling. When I brought the flat 4 years ago she made a hefty profit of £20K from the lease renewal to the person I brought the flat from as the lease was very short. The new lease was added to the unexpired years hence me having approx 152 years when I brought the flat.
She has moved on now and recently I had the idea to do something about my garden which looks like a jungle. It has the potential for a drive or maybe I would just pave over it to cover the weeds. I contacted her about my ideas and she said she would not grant permission. I said ok forgot the drive its free parking anyway but I just want to pave over it so I could use it more.
Again she said I would need the freehold in order to just pave the area and I would need to make her an offer. I said 2k just for it and she said she wants 5K. anyways she said the lowest she will go will be 4K. I said I will think about it and did not contact her for 4 months.
Now she has made contact advising me that in a few months she will be entitled to make a offer of the freehold to the downstairs flat and she would like to dispose of the freehold. The downstairs person has always let their flat out and when he brought from her he originally wanted the freehold, but she couldn’t sell it to him because of the 2 year rule.
During the sale of her flat to him she issued him the maximum 999 year lease. I am not sure whether he would be interested in the freehold as his lease is so long and it certainly would not add value. I did have a good relationship with the landlord downstairs until a few months ago when the mice in his flat knawed away at my toilet pipe and created a leakage. I did not fix it until 2 days and he was mighty pissed off that I did not fix it fast enough as his tenants were complaining about the smell so we have had a distant relationship since them.
I would like to know the following:
1. is it worthwhile me purchasing the freehold though I still have 147 years unexpired with no rent or service charges? Is 4K too high or too low? I have invested a lot of money in my flat and will be there for at least another 3 years. I have recently brought a freehold house with a garage to live in for the future. I do not plan to sell the flat when I move on as its almost tripled in value for what I brought it for so would be a good pension. (I was just fortunate to buy in the crash)
2. I do not want to get into the bidding war if the downstairs landlord is interested and I am not sure if he would be? I wouldn’t if I had that many years in my lease.
3. I have already paved 1/3rd of the garden without consent from anyone. I paid £200 for the works so I could have a flat seating area. I thought it would be worth the risk as if the freeholder found out or kicked off about it I would have only lost £200. I did read my lease and the plan shows the garden area but mentions nothing about doing works to it. Obviously its one of them old leases that have not been updated. I thought if she sued me I could just say sorry I didn’t know and just lift the paving stones up. But it would cost her more to do this.
I am on the fence about what to do and I do not want to spend 7k for a freehold for nothing! its already quite painful talking to her about anything reasonable and could be the same situation if the downstairs landlord gets hold of the freehold. the freehold has no value to her now and she just wants to make the last bit of money from it. Downstairs is on a peppercorn with 999 years and I am on a peppercorn with 147 so why do any of us really need the freehold?
If I do buy can I get the legal fees cheaper? She has estimated they would be 3k for the both of us and I would have to pay them.
I do not want to use the surveyor for a true value as that is a lot of money! Could anyone give an estimated value?
sorry for the long post I just wanted to paint a full picture.
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