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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I am purchasing a property with leased solar panels.I

Resolved Question:

Hello,
I am purchasing a property with leased solar panels.
I wish to remove these from the property. The lease plan shows the main building outlined in red, this has been registered with land registry. It does not show an extension built in 1995. The lease refers to the building as refers elsewhere to the area marked in the plan in red.
The solar panels have been fitted in part outside of the area marked in red - on the extension.
Can I, the incoming landlord, insist these panels are removed either completely (as any variation requires a surrender of the original lease and therefore I am not obliged to grant a new one) or in part by removing the panels outside of the denoted red area on the extension roof (presumably not requiring a surrender and therefore not requiring any variation of the lease beyond power output?).
My concern is that as I was not party to the original lease and because the building defined in the lease only relates back to the redline area (which is around the main house without the extension being depicted and therefore not possible to be drawn around), there will be an implied definition of the building which includes the solar panels on the extension too.
The buy out is £27,000 for the whole system and £10,000 for the part over the extension, which I want to demolish.
Surely a lease plan in 2012 in red should be correct and not be offered the same guidance as very old title plans? I read somewhere that any title plans after 2002 are judged by a different standard to old plans in terms of being challenged.
Obviously if I light the blue touch paper with the solar panel company my ability to get them to surrender part of the lease may diminish, meaning a worst case scenario of total buyout to achieve what I want so I need to approach it delicately.
Regards *****
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi there. i will try and help. Have you got (or can you get) the original Green deal assessors report?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Matt,
No but I have the lease and this includes info regarding the installed system.
Is there anything in particular you are after or is the green deal assessment significant?
Thanks
Luke
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi Luke. It is not that the assessment is significant but it is more a point of extraneous evidence of what was the agreement at the time. The various circumstances appear to be that either (a) the assessment was for the house roof to be incorporated and then either they have added the extension with or without consent of the owners or (b) it was always the intention to add the area over the extension and there has just been an error over the drafting of the plan by either the parties and/or the lawyer. To my mind it is probably the latter, however the assessment will help solve this. If it is the latter then you are going to find it difficult to argue with the "tenants" that is was an innocent mistake and that the lease should be rectified in accordance with intention of the parties, and they could obtain a court order to this effect. if it is the former position and someone has taken liberty then you are in a stronger position to argue your point you have alluded to.
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
I hope this helps. Please ask any follow up questions you wish. If you are happy then please leave positive feedback, the question wont close and then if you think of something later you can always come back and ask any further follow up questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Matt,
The issue is that I am buying an extant situation where there was an administrative error on the part of the solar panel company.
The current physical situation prevents me from demolishing the extension to build an new house.
The extension was there when the lease was drawn up and should probably have been included.
Fact remains it was not shown on the os plan used, nor shown. To that end panels have been fitted outside the leased area. Surely there is a due diligence on the part of the solar panel company who run the whole affair of the rent a roof scheme to ensure that the lease put before the landlord (homeowner) is as it should be? It is outside the LAT act, as there is a clause for Mrtgage company to reposess and dispose of the panels.
Do you think there is sufficient precedent for the solar panel company to argue an implied position? Or is it sufficiently ambiguous that if I was to offer them the opportunity to move the panels on to the main roof that they would most likely take it to avoid the agro of testing the position in court?
Thanks
Luke
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
HI Luke. This is what I was alluding to previously. There doesn't seem any doubt that what is on the plan and what is physically on the property differs. The question is why does it differ? If the intention of the parties, shown from all of the evidence available (plans, assessment, correspondence, etc.). Is that the extension was always intended to be included, then it would not be too difficult for the "tenants", if matters could not be agreed between you, to make an application to Court for a declaration that the lease should be amended to take account of the intention of the parties and to rectify the mistake and to include a new plan which includes the extension. This is a fairly standard practice as mistakes are made, and the Court can use their discretion where there is clear evidence to put things right. However where things are less clear, and perhaps the evidence doesn't point to a mistake but rather the solar company taking a charge and adding more panels that was intended then this is where you could exploit the position. In any event the hassle and cost of a Court application could lead you to enter negotiations that could lead you to mutually agreeing to move the panels. I would suggest he cost and hassle would have to out weigh the cost of the loss of income and the cost of removal to make it something they would consider however, which may not be the case (and indeed they may have a claim against their own advisers for negligence). It is certainly worth getting hold of the evidence I have suggested, and if this is favourable pointing this issues out to them on a without prejudice basis to see what their response is before proceeding.
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