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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10525
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I own a woodland, which I would like to transfer ownership

Resolved Question:

I own a woodland, which I would like to transfer ownership to my wife as a joint tenant. Part of the land is currently subject to a Unilateral Notice, whereby I had given a pre-emptive right (first refusal) to a named person if I decide to sell the woodland.
The transfer to my wife is as a gift. Could the unilateral notice affect the transfer?
Will the unilateral notice persist if the woodland is later inherited by new owners (beneficiaries), no sale having taken place?
John Alan Lowe, Plymouth, UK
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
1. Dear *****, what was the actual wording of the Unilateral Notice which gave the right of pre-emption? What were its terms in so far as what transactions was it stated to be applicable to? Was the Unilateral Notice registered as a burden against the land ie mentioned in the Land Folio in the Land Registry? If it was mentioned in the Land Registry, what were the terms of the registration?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Unilateral Notice is mentioned in the charges register in my register of title:
(28.09.2004) UNILATERAL NOTICE affecting the land tinted pink on the title plan in respect of a right of pre-emption dated 14 April 2004.
NOTE: Copy filed
(28.09.2004) BENEFICIARY: Robert John Reddaway of Hillcrest, Cossick Cross, Moretonhampstead, Devon, TQ13 8SNOn 14 April 2004, I gave the above beneficiary a signed and witnessed letter, which said
"Dear Mr Reddaway, This is to confirm that if I, John Alan Lowe, were to sell Trenchford Wood, Blackingstone Woodlands, currently Title Number DN489396, then I would give you, Robert John Reddaway, or your beneficiaries, first option to purchase the land designated by the stippled area on the attached plan, and amounting to 0.38 acres (0.154 hectares) or thereabouts."(note: the total area of the woodland is about 59 acres)
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
2. Dear *****, Firstly, gifting half the woodland to your wife will not engage the operation of the Pre-emption notice, as it will be a gratuitous transfer for value. However, you will need the consent of the Mr. Reddaway to adopt this course, as it involves a reduction in his rights. Mr. Reddaway will probably want your wife to sign a similar clause. However, your wife will be bound by the pre-emption notice, if there is a gratuitous transfer to her, so if either of you were to go to sell your share, then the right of pre-emption would arise. Secondly, the Pre-emption notice does not bind your successors in title, unless the property was transferred in breach of the pre-emption notice. This is because the pre-emption right is registered as a charge on the land, not as a burden. However, every purchaser of the property would have to satisfy themselves that the right of pre-emption had been offered before they would willingly purchase the property. So, if you are selling to a third party, this issue of whether the pre-emption right was offered will arise. So, you need to be able to show that you did in fact offer the land to the Mr Reddaway who holds the pre-emption right.
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