Whether this is a contravention of the lease or not will depend on the wording of the lease and whether the title number for the parking space is the same title number as the title for the flat. As there was a problem with the Land Registry splitting the title to the lease, it appears that it was all one title.
You can get a copy of the lease from the Land Registry if you don’t have it. It usually costs £20.
That will tell you whether this is a breach of the terms of the lease or not.
The lease will usually contain a provision that you are not to part with part of the premises/property or sublet part of the premises as opposed to the whole.
You would need to look at what the property is called, premises or property and then look at the actual definition of what the property is called to see the extent of it. It may say that it’s the flat edged in red and the parking space edged in red.
If there is a covenant that you shouldn’t sell part of the property, then this is a breach. However, the breach is now 18 years old and it’s unlikely that the court going to have much sympathy with the management company if they have waited 18 years for this to come to light.
After 20 years, of continual breach, the covenant is no longer enforceable. There is case law, Hepworth v Pickles.
Under the Limitation Act the timescale for bringing a claim in negligence against the solicitors who acted on the sale and division is 6 years from the negligent act or the date of knowledge which ever is the later, subject to a long stop date of 15 years. There is an issue here over whether you are out of time to sue the solicitors in negligence and that
limitation matter would have to be decided by the court before they even looked at the negligence claim.
At the moment, the Management Company, have made a comment without suggesting how they want it remedied. Until you know what they’re actually looking for or issue proceedings against you, there is nothing you can do until you know what they actually want because clearly, merging the titles again is unlikely to be an option
Can I clarify anything else for you?
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The fact that the solicitors went out of business is immaterial because they would have had indemnity insurance at the time of the negligent act and the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Law Society will know which insurance company that was.
Under the Limitation Act there is a statutory time limit of 6 years from when the negligence occurs.
The discussion for the court here would be whether the negligent act was 1998 or2001. If the latter, you may just be in time for the long stop date although you may already be too late.
I don’t know what claim the management company can bring because although they may not like it, they haven’t actually suffered any loss. The sinister acting for the buyer of the flat and the buyer of the garage have potentially been negligent in this because the deeds are quite specific in what they say. However they are out of time also.
It would be possible for the management company to have the transfer to the buyer set asidebut for practical purposes, the court would be depriving someone (parking space owner) through no fault of their own and either the flat owner would gain a parking space at no cost and hence would be unjustly enriched and the court wouldn’t make them pay for it.
I just can’t see that court action by the management company could produce any kind of satisfactory result
I look forward to that. Best wishes.