Thursday, September 19

The Landlady has freehold ambitions

- March 26, 2013

Now that Katy and I have decided to sell our Hastings flat, I have all kinds of wild plans of where to invest the money. One of my mad schemes is to buy a piece of land in Africa, the legal complexities of which seem to be fairly mind-boggling. As if English property law isn’t enough to be dealing with…

“Our lease is approaching 70 years and we’ll either have to purchase the freehold or renew the lease”

We have now been trying to purchase the freehold of our Hastings property for five years. Completion was almost achieved five years ago, but one of the lessees pulled out at the last minute, leaving us back at square one. The fact that Katy and I are now planning to sell our flat means that the purchase of the freehold is even more pertinent, as our lease is approaching 70 years and either we’ll have to purchase the freehold, or renew the lease. Frankly, I’m not bothered which we do, as the cost and the result – for us at least – will be the same. I’m merely being kind and thinking of the other lessees and the future of the property. I thought that the main problem would be trying to get the other lessees to agree to the freehold purchase, but it transpires that they are the least of my problems, even though only one out of six of them ever replies to my emails.

Over six weeks ago, I wrote to the freeholder asking for a current freehold price. Four weeks later, they wrote back blathering on about notifying their client, or words to that effect. I have just returned from Africa again and was pleased to see a letter from our freeholder amongst the pile of letters on the hall table. Could I finally have a reply to my question? After all, it can’t be that hard to answer the question ‘how much is it?’ Or can it?

It appears that they are either stupid, stalling, or both, because the envelope contained a two-lined letter asking me to ‘re-submit the prescribed notices’.

What the hell is that supposed to mean? I am too embarrassed to phone them up and ask them and too mean to employ a solicitor to help me. I think I will have to ask the only other lessee who answers my emails, who is a policeman, so at least might be in possession of some legal knowledge.

Meanwhile, Katy and I are still planning to go ahead and put our flat on the market at the beginning of April. By this time, we are banking on it being warm enough for any potential purchasers not to notice that the heating is fairly ineffectual and the boiler is over the hill. Do wish us luck. At least by then I might have got round to re-submitting the prescribed notices, if I ever work out what they are.


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