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Freeholder bullying?

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I bought a first floor maisonette flat in a converted house, just over a year ago.  The owner of the ground floor flat had become bankrupt in 2020 and the freeholder is seeking to acquire the property.  The flat should be the freeholder's by February 2022.  The freeholder told me that the lender (Nat West) had tried to repossess the property but Nat West had made a mistake with due process.  I think what could have happened is that the lender had sent a court official to the downstairs property in September last year.  The bank probably thought that by that time, the former owner of the downstairs flat would have had  his debts discharged by the Official Receiver.


However, it appears the debtor is not cooperating and the Official Receiver has suspended his discharge.  I was told when I called the Official Receiver that he is still a bankrupt.  I read somewhere that if someone is a bankrupt, the creditors should apply to the Official Receiver and not seek to get in touch with the individual directly.


The freeholder wants to spend a lot of money on the property and the external house.  Most of the building works he is suggesting are not essential or structural  but more cosmetic and will help with a quick sell.  When my surveyor looked at my property before I bought it, he suggested that a few things need to be done soon but others can wait.  The problem is, I will have to pay for half.

The leasehold document that I signed said that both leaseholders have to decide and agree on repairs.  He wants to do the deciding.  For instance, I want to repair the front communal door but he wants a brand new one.


He suggests that I get a loan against my property.  I am in my mid 50s and I have no plans to do that.  He said his lawyers are fairly confident that he will have the property by February.  At that stage, he will send me a list of "repairs".  He said that ultimately, it could end up in a tribunal court.


I feel this is unfair, as this is about him selling a flat where the former owner owed him around £5k.  I am not sure if he has to pay the lender back what Nat West is owed but in either case, he stands to make a tidy profit.  I would like to suggest a sink fund of about £500 a year each but he will not be interested in it as he would like the builders over ASAP.


I am thinking of writing to Nat West, to see if they have given up on repossessing the property.  Does anyone have any suggestions please? 



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Do you think Natwest would be willing to communicate with you ?  e.g. Data protection, confidentiality.  


At this stage unless you have something in writing from the freeholders or their Solicitors with firm proposals, I don't think I would do anything.  In the meantime, I would suggest reading through the lease several times and see what it says exactly about any contribution you need to make towards maintaining the property.


I would think you are only responsible for maintenance costs and not to improve the property.

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I have to agree wait to see what the Freeholder provides in writing.


As for the ground floor flat and their bankruptcy I am afraid that is nothing to do with you as a Leaseholder and will not help you in this situation with the Freeholder.


How many Leaseholders are within the Building?


Remember the Freeholder whatever they consider doing in the building if it is going to cost Leaseholders they need to inform the Leaseholders of these added costs and you the Leaseholder have the Right to Object in writing with your reason. The Freeholder can't just go direct to a Tribunal.


Have you considered discussing with the other Leaseholders within the Building 'The Right to Manage'?


You need to really have a good read as already mentioned of your Leasehold Agreement and do some research so you are aware of your Rights as a Leaseholder.


Some links for you to look at:



How to set up a flat management company to manage property on residents' behalf and what you must do to run it legally



Outline of the right for leaseholders of a building containing flats to take over the management of the building (right to manage)



Right to Manage gives leaseholders the opportunity to take over the management of their property - but with very real responsibilities.



Leasehold property - leasehold disputes, buying the freehold, service charges, lease extensions and Right to Manage



A guide to how it works with an explanation of the nature and typical rights, responsibilities and obligations that relate to the ownership of a...



Leaseholders own property for a limited time, and must consider interests and pay charges to the landlord who owns the freehold.


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Hi Stu007


Thank you so much for the above.  There are two flats in this property:  my first floor flat and the ground floor.  It is not owned by the local authority or a social housing group.


I will read through what you have included, along with the lease agreement.  I will particularly examine the right to object as I think it will certainly go that way.  I was not aware of such a right, so I am immensely grateful.


Happy New Year.

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