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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Loft - negotiating with freeholder

    I have recently purchased a top floor leasehold flat.

    The loft is only accessible through my flat although it is not in my demise (and is thus owned by the freeholder).

    Does anyone have experience acquiring a loft in this regard? I want to send the freeholder a letter / instruct a surveyor, but I would be interested in hearing others' experiences.

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    Hi there,

    How did you get on with this?

    We now have a similar issue and are being refused by the freeholder to purchase the loft space.

    It seems strange as it's only accessible from our flat yet legally we're not supposed to enter it.

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    The loft space has development potential and so has money. I see three options:
    1) negotiate a healthy price and buy the right to develop
    2) wait until there are large repair bills to the roof and come to the rescue (probably only works if the freehold has to pay for the roof repairs which is unusual/unlikely)
    3) threaten to start mobilising tenants to exercise your collect rights to buy the freehold. If you lead the process and say pick the legal costs then many leaseholders will go along with this. And of course the threat may be enough to bring the freeholder to the table.

    If I was the freeholder and I wasn’t an owner occupier I would hold out for money. Things happen so it may be that the freehold could somehow (no matter that it seems impossible now) work out how to get access and do the development himself. Hence it has value.

    We recently advised a client on this sort of arrangement but the freehold had started the process of selling to a developer which was the catalyst to try and find a friendly investor to share a development profit in exchange for free lease extensions, Sadly poorly drafted documents meant statutory deadlines were missed. But the point is these deals do exist with all their individual perculiarities.

    Best of luck. Please keep us informed.
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    Chartered Accountant, Tax Advisor and Mortgage broker

    (and BTL portfolio owner)

    stuart@johnsonsca.com

    02039077022