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Buying share of freehold flat and need help

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  • Buying share of freehold flat and need help

    I'm a first time buyer and in the process of buying a share of freehold flat in London. My solicitor has highlighted some issues with the flat and thinks I should seriously reconsider my purchase. Although I appreciate his concerns, I would prefer to find a way to fix them rather than back out, although will do this if I can't fix the problems and it's likely to stop me selling the flat in the future.

    The flat is in a converted building of 4 flats - only 2 of the flats have a share of freehold (mine and another). The other freeholder is contactable but doesn't live in this country any more.

    The lease states that the freeholders should have set up a management company with audited accounts, collect ground rent and have a sinking fund. None of these are in place and everything has been agreed and paid for as needed. Ground rent hasn't been collected.

    My solicitor is concerned that the responsibility rests too heavily on me, I may struggle to get signatures from the other freeholder if needed and is concerned that if I did try to rectify the situation I'd struggle to get agreement from the other flat holders and end up creating tensions in the building or have to take people to court.

    Is there anything I can realistically do to sort this out?

    I think my options are:

    - pull out completely (I've spent about £1700 on the process so far).

    - set up the management company myself (or get the seller to do this) with the other freeholder. The risk is that once I introduce a service charge, the other freeholder may not be available to release money when needed and I'm still liable to pay for the work up front.

    - set up the management company and give up share of freehold to the other 2 leasees. This way, the responsibility is diffused and the other exisitng freeholder isn't needed if a majority can agree.

    - continue with the situation as it is but ask the seller to reduce the price by the full amount of work recommended on communal areas in the survey (£8k) on the basis that this is what I could be liable for if raised by the leaseholders. I can make arrangements for a separate account and start to collect a service charge and ground rent with the other leaseholders and work with them to plan future work.

    A lot of this assumes the other freeholder will agree before the purchase to one of these options.

    Any help would be appreciated.
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