Should I buy a flat that has a bedroom on a different lease?
Q: The bedroom in the flat I want to buy is held on a completely different lease with a different landlord to the rest of the flat. Both leases have just over 80 years left so will need to be extended. It's a great flat but I'm worried that the complicated legal situation means I should not proceed?
The first point to be made in this case is that we would need to review the title documents in order to fully confirm the position with the leases. It would be highly unusual for just a bedroom of a flat to be held under a separate lease to the rest of the flat, particularly where there is a separate landlord.
However, if this is the position then it should not prevent the leaseholder making a claim to extend the leases. Extra consideration would need to be given to splitting the premium (i.e. the price for the extension) between the freeholders and in drafting and serving a notice of claim to the freeholders. This means that the process may take a little longer than usual.
Bear in mind that if you are looking to purchase this flat, you would want the current owner to deal with the tricky business of getting the notice of claim served on the freeholder before you purchase the flat, otherwise you would need to wait two years before you qualify to serve your own notice. The price you would have to pay to extend the leases would increase over that two year period so it is important to deal with this before you exchange contracts to buy the flat.
This is quite a complex point and you should ensure that the seller (if they are to serve the notice) instructs specialist solicitors to act for them in the lease extension claim so that your position is protected following your purchase.
Answered by Bollanack & Bishop Solicitors
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