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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I purchased my maisonette with a 93 year lease in July 2014,

Customer Question

Hi, I purchased my maisonette with a 93 year lease in July 2014, at the time I had no idea it was supposed to be a Tyneside lease/crossover lease, I think neither did the lender or solicitor, after making the purchase I briefly spoke to the old owner who told me that even though I purchased the lease for my downstairs flat I actually own the freehold for upstairs, It was a bit confusing and I made no sense of it at the time but I have now done some research and found that actually he's right, it's supposed to be a crossover lease, I have checked with the land registry and my upstairs neighbour does own the freehold to my flat downstairs, but when I checked who owns the freehold to upstairs, it is the old owner I bought the lease from! it has not changed over to my name and I think he is probably oblivious to this as he had actually told me I own it, I think the lender and my solicitor both had no idea this was a crossover lease at the time of sale as none of the paperwork I have mentions this. one thing I have noticed is that the freehold for my flat is in my upstairs neighbour's name under his upstairs address, where as the freehold for his flat is on the previous lease owner's name under another address completely, maybe this could be the reason it did not automatically switch over? who do I speak to now and how do I fix this? from what I have read online the freehold for upstairs has to be sold along with the lease for downstairs, but this did not happen. please help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. Thank you for the question.

I will tell you that the situation you are in here is not at all unusual and in fact, quite common particularly with small flat and maisonette conversions.

What do you want to know about this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As far as I can see from information online there should only be 2 parties involved in a crossover lease legaly, right now there are 3 as the old owners of my lease still own the freehold for upstairs, my question is how do i fix this and obtain the freehold for upstairs which I should have had in the first place, and who was at fault for this happening. Thanks
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

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?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

Can I assist any further with this?

Please do not forget to use the rating service so that I get credit for my time today. The thread does not close even though you may get the impression it does, it remains open after rating. We can then follow up on any points which need clarification.

Kind regards.