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Hi,

We own a flat which is 1 of 4 flats that were converted from a single large detached property in 1953.

 

 

The flats are freehold flats.

The maintenance agreement was with a named person on the deeds.

That person died years ago, and so the maintenance agreement died with him.

 

we have a situation of 4 freehold flats and no proper maintenance agreement.

 

 

Over the years not everyone has been in agreement at the same time in getting any work done on the property, and also in getting an agreement sorted out.

 

 

Recently we have had to get the building re-roofed at a cost of £20k

However we now are all in agreement that this maintenance agreement should now be sorted out.

 

Is it better to get the flats put into leasehold with each flat retaining a share of the freehold.

 

or

 

1 flat owner has suggested Commonhold, of which I know nothing about.

 

or

 

Is there a better solution such as just having a maintenance agreement.

 

 

Many thanks in advance.

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whichever you choose there will still need to be something regarding maintenance or you will go through this every time a bulb need changing.

The named person on the deeds may well have heirs or successors so they will be responsible but you can claim dereliction of the agreement and get on with things yourself and that would be simpler. You say all of the flats are freehold, share of a common freehold for teh building or what? upstairs flats woudl then need a flying freehold and with that goes respionsibility for the roof. Start off with a very careful reading of the deeds to determine who actually owns what and what is held in common if anything (garden path, staircases etc.)and thensee if you can agree that any deed drawn up is to have full legal standing by registering the agreement as a covenant on the deeds of the properties. There can be no argument then but be careful with the wording as it binds not just you but every future owner of the flats/land

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Hi,

Thanks for your reply. The flat owners are responsible for their own internal walls, floors and ceilings. Everything else comes under the now dead maintenance agreement, which included communal areas, roof etc. in the past ground floor flat owners have said that they had the drains and that the 2 first floor flat owners had the roof, basically as they did not want to pay towards the roof. It all came to a head when they realized that the roof would not last another winter. For the first time everyone was in agreement and we chipped in and the roof was sorted out at a cost of £20k. As everyone was in agreement it was also agreed that we should get the maintenance agreement sorted out.

But the problem is that there are now conflicting views as for the best way forward.

 

Some want to go down the leasehold/freehold plus a maintenance agreement route as it would mean that if they wanted to sell the flat in the future the new buyer would find it easier to get a mortgage on a leasehold flat as opposed to a flat that was purely freehold.

Some want to just have the freehold as before but with a new maintenance agreement attached as a covenant.

Another wants to go commonhold.

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Not sure about commonhold but, as a mortgage broker, it is much easier to get a mortgage of a leasehold flat that a freehold. I am doing one at the moment and thee is only 1 lender available and there is still a lot of criteria to meet. My case is slightly different in that the upstairs flat owns the freehold for the building. I have advised to put a lease in place - should cost around £500 - to open up to more lenders.

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We have had a solicitor quote us about £500 each to go down the leasehold/freehold route.

We have been told much the same as regards to getting a mortgage on a freehold flat and a broker said that out of 30 lenders only 1 would lend and that was NatWest.

Commonhold information is hard to get, as no one really seems to know much about it.

 

So looking into the future if we wanted to sell it would be much easier if we went leasehold and retained the freehold as well>

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share of freehold is another route. Similar to commonhold but not quite the same. with share of freehold and a covenant there is no expiry of lease that would then need redrafting. TBH £500 each would be a bargain as the value of the property will increase compared to a leasehold and offset the cost of drawing up the agreemeents. Dont forget, this is for ever, not just between you and your current neighbours.

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