UK Property Law
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How many flats are there in the building please?
How many individuals share the freehold?
Is the freehold owned by a company structure in which you are a shareholder or is it owned in your own names - i.e. you are jointly named on the title?
there are 26 flats in the building, large Mansions house.
Not sure how many individuals share the freehold but let's assume at least as many as the number of flats
the freehold is owned by a company structure in which we are a shareholder
Thanks. Do you have meetings and if so do you attend?
I have not been made aware of any meetings. we moved in 6 months go.
Thanks. Do you know if the attic is demised to you in your lease?
I just have to pop into a meeting for an hour or so. If you could come back to me on the above I will revert to you as soon as I am out...
no the attic is not and we need to apply for it
I gather from a neighbour who lives on the same floor as us that the party in charge of decision making (who is that? the Freehold or the council?) will only allow the flat owners immediately below the attic space to apply for that space and I presume to buy that space.
My apologies for the delay in reverting to you.
From what you say the freehold is owned by the individual leaseholders individually as shareholders and accordingly the decision as to both issues is for the shareholders by way of a vote at either a general meeting which will be held from time to time or at a special meeting you may ask to be called on the matter.
Certain decisions may have been delegated to one or more directors for administrative ease.
e.g. it may be that one or more directors can make a decision in respect of a licence under the lease for laying a floor other than carpet
In terms of how to proceed:
You should have contact details of the company secretary who prepared the information pack for your solicitor when you bough the property. If you don't you can obtain the same through your solicitor if not by asking a neighbour.
You will nee to consider an application for a licence under the lease for laying fo a wooden floor. Many freeholders are prepared to consdier such an application providing you can demonstrate that the floor will have sufficient sound deadening material to insulate against noise for the flat below but there is no requirement to grant consent particularly where this cannot be demonstrated.
You will need either a letter from a director of the freehold company or a formal licence granting consent.
In terms of the attic the freehold company may decide that you will need to purchase this at market price as agreed by you and a surveyor or it may be willing to grant you the demise without charge. Either option is open to it depending on the views of the shareholders at a meeting as above. Equally it may be that the freeholder refuses to sell the same to you at all. Under those circumstances you could seek to simply go ahead with some basic works and apply for a vesting order in the courts if no one else has access to the same by which a court can order that the same is vested in you and orders a market price to be paid but you would need representation if you are forced along this approach as this is a slightly aggressive approach .
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
ok that's clear. so i need to reach out to the freehold company. What is the role of the managing agent? do they represent the freehold company? generally i get letters from them. Also who represents me?
A managing agent will often be appointed by a freeholder to manage the administrative burdens of a block. You can make an application through them if you wish and they will pass on to the freehold director who is the initial decision maker
You can appoint a surveyor to represent you if you wish but you do not have to. If you are granted permission as above consider you will also need to obtain building regulation approval from the council re the conversion though this is some way down the line.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?
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thanks. Can you please answer my first question re. waiver
also with respect to the seond question, as a shareholder in the freehold, don't I get represented somehow by the manging agent too? the Freehold seems very powerful vs. us the actual owners who put their money to buy this property
Certainly. My apologies I addressed this above in my reference to a licence. Rather than applying for a waiver you will need to consider applying for a licence or less formally, permission from the landlord to lay down such a floor. If you have any further questions in respect of the above in this respect please let me know or if you cannot find the relevant section above.
All shareholders are represented via the managing agents but not as individuals. They are represented as shareholders collectively. Consider here that you wear two hat - one as a shareholder of the freehold company and another as an individual leaseholder. Whilst you are the same person, the two "hats" are entirely separate roles and are only linked by virtue of your being the same physical person. As a leaseholder the managing agent does not represent you and you may decide you wish to instruct separate representation. As a shareholder of the freehold company you are represented and the company will likely have majority voting for decisions
Is there anything else i can help you with?
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