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Lease Problems - Derelict property above ours

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  • Lease Problems - Derelict property above ours

    My husband and I own a maisonette. The property above ours is owned out right by an old gentleman. In all the time we have lived here (7 years) not a single piece of maintenance has been done. The windows are falling out, one window is smashed, large chunks of wood fall from rotten window sills when it rains. Because of this we have been unable to sell our property when we had it on the market, and should we even manage to find a buyer in the future, our house value is exceptionally diminished by the state of the property above.

    I have begged both the house owner and the freeholders to do something about this situation for the past 3+ years. Nothing has happened, beyond the freeholders sending letters to the man upstairs.

    What can we, legally, do? Do we have any right to sue the freeholders for failing to enforce the terms of the lease, or for the negative effect it has on our house value?

    We have been trapped in limbo for so long here, and I am at my wits end. We want to move out and start a family, but we're stuck in this situation. Either sell up, and lose money on our property's true value, or stay put and hope for change. Any advice would be gratefully received.

  • #2
    Re: Lease Problems - Derelict property above ours

    Should clarify - when I say the property upstairs is owned outright, I mean that there is no mortgage left on it. It is still a leasehold property.

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    • #3
      Re: Lease Problems - Derelict property above ours

      Is the responsibility for maintenance of the structure and exterior of the building

      1) that of the freeholder, with the two lessees having to pay the costs of any work through a service charge or

      2) do the leases provide that you each are supposed to maintain your own part of the building?

      If the latter provided that there is a covenant by the freeholder to enforce the other lessee's covenants on your paying his costs for doing so then you could make the freeholder take action - but you will have to pay the costs of this - although eventually the court might order the other lessee to pay them.
      RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
      As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

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      • #4
        Re: Lease Problems - Derelict property above ours

        To add to Richard's reply: if the obligation is the freeholder's you should be able to force the freeholder to do the worfk, though the obligation might be conditional on the leaseholders each contributing to the cost. If so, you can force the freeholder to enforce that obligation against the upstairs maisonette owner (subject to the coinditions Richard mentions), but it may be that you will end up paying half the cost of repairing the upstairs maisonette

        It all depends on the wording in the leases
        This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum

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