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Joanne M
Joanne M, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  LLB (Hons), LPC
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I purchased the freehold interest in a property comprising

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I purchased the freehold interest in a property comprising 3 flats sold on long leases some 30 years ago. This purchase was as tenant in common with a friend as I was working overseas. At the time I wasn't advised of the consequences of "tenant in common" and I don't recall any deed or other document setting out the ownership shares. I paid the entire amount and no money was ever received from the friend. I haven't seen or heard from this person for 28 years and now would like to sell the property. How do I go about getting it transferred 100% into my name

Is there a mortgage on the property? If so, how much is it? Did your friend contribute towards the maintenance of the property or any repayments?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, there is no mortgage on the property. I paid the full amount at the time of purchase. The friend has never had anything to do with the property.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, there is no mortgage on the property. I paid the full amount at the time of purchase. The friend has never had anything to do with the property.

One of the leaseholders wishes to extend the area of their lease to be able to undertake a loft conversion giving rise to the question after all these years

Firstly, you are going to have to find where he is because you cannot sell the property without either his consent or court order.
You don’t say whether you know where he is or not. I will assume that you do not for now.
In order to get a court order you are going to have to show that you have made all attempts possible to get hold of him which will include instructing a tracing agent to try and find him. Expect to spend a few hundred pounds at least. Provided you have the report from the tracing agent that says that he cannot be found, you then have the grounds to go to court to get an order for the property to be sold.

We have used this firm

With great success, both with regard to people in the UK and abroad but sometimes, they will only take instructions from solicitors.

Once you either have the address or no address but a report from the agent, you can then go to court.
If he will not agree to sell the property, that is one court order or, if you cannot find him, that is a different order.
The problem you have is that as the law currently stands (and you really will not like this) it doesn’t matter what the individual is put in over the period, unless there is an agreement to the contrary when you bought the property, then the proceeds are split 50-50.
I will tell you that if you’re not happy to do that, you are going to have to go to court and make some new law! The reason is that I don’t think that there is a case (certainly that I know of) where people have owned a property for so long and one non-owning partner as literally had their name on it and done absolutely nothing whatsoever else and there has been no mortgage. Literally he put his name on it and nothing whatsoever.
I will tell you that he is entitled to something (at the moment, the law says 50%) because you were living abroad and clearly, the fact that he agreed to jointly go on the property with you, has value. I don’t know what he did while you will working abroad but obviously there was a reason that he was on the property. That has value.

In the absence of any deed, the share usually be 50-50.

If he will not agree to transfer the property to you, you are likely to have an expensive and risky legal battle which is about as much do it yourself job is taking your own appendix out but I would not for one minute suggest that you even started the job on your own but used a solicitor who has experience of just this.

Does that answer the question? Can I assessed further or clarify any specific points?

Please do not forget to give my answer a positive rating and I will happily follow up any future points at no extra cost to you. The thread does remain open for us to continue the exchange even though the site may give you the impression that the thread closes. It does not
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The friend had agreed to pay 50% as a joint venture purchase so I paid the full amount conditional on them reimbursing me 50% which didn't happen.


What happens if they've died?

You will then be dealing with his executors.
If you have the agreement in writing or he agrees that he would pay 50% but didnt that helps yr claim for 100%
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