Shared freehold with permanently empty flat and unresponsive owner?

by Readers Question

10:52 AM, 30th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Shared freehold with permanently empty flat and unresponsive owner?

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Shared freehold with permanently empty flat and unresponsive owner?

I have a rental flat with less than 70 years in the lease – the freehold is shared with the owner of the upstairs flat. I have never met the other owner and that flat is permanently empty.empty

I would like to have a new lease (& perhaps do a management company arrangement as the solicitor recommends), but can get no response from the other owner. I sent a recorded delivery letter which was signed for, but there is still no response.

My partner wants to drive to her house (a considerable distance) but she may be out or feel pressured? Any advice very gratefully received!

Many thanks

Mel



Comments

John Pettman

13:06 PM, 30th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi I would suggest you download a copy of the other owners title to the Leasehold flat to ascertain her address. . Am I correct to assume that there are only two flats in the building???? Although you say you have never met the other freeholder I assume you must have had some contact as it would be normal for the whole building to be insured by the freeholder and each would pay half.
I would suggest that you write to the other owner pointing out that the residue on the Lease is now down to only 70 years and at this level many (not all ) mortgage lenders would not be prepared to lend on that security . Further it would make sense for both owners to enter into a Surrender and Re grant in effect in your sole names you surrender you existing Lease to the freeholder and then in your position of Freeholder you issue a new Lease in the same terms save that the new term is say999 years . You could of course make some more alterations at the same time . Do bear in mind should either of you have a mortgage secured on your Leasehold property you will need to get the agreement of your lender . To add weight to your letter you can download the C.M.L (Council of Mortgage Lenders ) handbook which sets out the length of Lease each individual lender will require.I would also suggest that you both appoint the same Lawyer to complete this matter so as to save costs John Pettman

Mel B

9:27 AM, 1st December 2015
About 3 years ago

Thanks John. Yes, two flats in building, both insured separately (I know this is mad, but that was the situation when we bought and we've never had any contact with the other owner). I know my letter pointing out the problems with the short lease arrived as I sent it recorded, and I tracked it, so it was received. I pointed out it would cost about £500 each to get the lease redone, so maybe that's the problem. I'll have a look at the handbook you mention, and I didn't know I had to inform our mortgage company, so thanks for that.

Puzzler

19:14 PM, 10th July 2017
About A year ago

If you get no response, get a specialist solicitor and you can go to the county court to get the matter sorted as for example if the party has disappeared or died


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