9:59 AM, 17th December 2021, About a month ago 17
I am looking for advice/support please for a colleague whose property sale is being compromised by a leasehold issue. Can anyone suggest a way forward or recommend a legal specialist who may be able to assist, please?
The circumstances relate to a small strip of land at the side of the house. When my colleague bought the house (leasehold on a new build estate) around 20 years ago, the leaseholder advised her verbally that she was free to use this thin strip of land as it was banking at the end of the estate and of no use to him, and that she was free to put her garden fence up to include this land. Obviously, with hindsight, this was a little naïve, but this was over 20 years ago and was taken at face value of a kind offer at the time with no further issue given consideration.
Fast-forward to the present day, and my colleague now needs to sell this property due to a relationship breakdown. She has found a buyer and found a new property for herself, but this chain is now in danger of breaking and causing her considerable stress, as the leaseholder of the land has refused to sign the necessary legal documentation.
The issue the leaseholder has is that my colleague landscaped this strip of land, which he says was done without his written permission. My colleague accepted this as a misunderstanding and has at her own cost reinstated this to how the land was when she bought the property. The leaseholder is still not happy with this as he says any services running under this area of land may have been compromised due to earth movement and is therefore unwilling to sign the paperwork which would allow my colleague to complete and move house. He wishes to know where she is should he need to come asking for future financial compensation in the event of any issue.
Clearly, she has offered to provide him with a forwarding address, and her buyer obviously wishes this issue to be finalised before completing but is not willing to wait forever. This has been ongoing for several months now. I have advised her to try to obtain indemnity insurance, but she has already tried this and is struggling as every specialist insurance company she has spoken to has said it is unable to assist – as she is trying to obtain insurance on somebody else’s land.
The leaseholder already has his own insurance on this land but does not want to claim on his insurance. He states that him taking out specific insurance and my colleague paying for it are not an option either. He is insistent that there is some form of insurance that should cover my colleague for a period of 5 years, in case anything goes wrong. When informed that this does not appear possible to arrange, he states that he won’t settle for anything else other than a cash payment of an unknown amount at this time.
He simply does not want her to move. This land was reinstated over 18 months ago, and he has verbally accepted that had there been any issue it would most likely have occurred by now but is still unwilling to budge. Can anybody provide any advice or recommendations for specialists to provide a way forward with this, please?
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