I have actually had this before. Although, in my particular case, there was a limited company involved which was in liquidation and we ended up having to deal with the Treasury Solicitor. It was very very messy and took years to resolve. It wasn’t our fault, it was the solicitor that dealt with the purchase many years ago (we were trying to sell the property) who was at fault. However, he had since died and the firm had closed. As I said, very messy.
Let me deal with the last question first. Who is at fault for the this not happening?
There are 2 parties involved although ultimately, the buck stops with your solicitor.
The sellers (to you) should have have arranged for the transfer of the other property freehold to you. However it’s for your solicitor to not complete your purchase of the leasehold unless that also happens.
I would therefore go back to the solicitor (who would have been infinitely aware of this requirement) that dealt with your purchase and tell them to sort this out. There is a potential conflict of interest and therefore, you should really see another solicitor that will deal with the solicitor acted on the purchase for you.
Actually dealing with it is relatively simple provided you can find whoever owns the freehold now and provided they will cooperate.
Tracing someone is not that difficult and there are agencies that do it for about 50 quid. If they can’t be found, then it’s a case of making the appropriate application to court and the court will actually sign the transfer in default of either the other person can’t be found or the other person who simply will not cooperate.
I can tell you now, this is not a do-it-yourself job. However, having said that, it should not cost you anything either because the solicitor that dealt with the purchase for you should pick up all the costs.
Even if that solicitor is no longer in business, their insurer will be able to fund this.
Does that answer the question?
Can I answer any specific points arising from?