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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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I bought 100% of my property last year from the Housing Association.

Resolved Question:

I bought 100% of my property last year from the Housing Association. I put it up for sale in May this year and sold it subject to contract, the contract arrived to sign and I noticed it said leasehold, I contacted the Solicitor and explained how I bought it, from the Housing Association and that it wasn't leasehold it was freehold as it had been advertised by the Estate Agents, I am now concerned as this has come up and I can clearly remember when buying the property I said, after I have bought the 100% it will change to freehold and not leasehold and my Solicitor clearly said yes it would be freehold, in fact I contacted her again yesterday and she said it is freehold and was getting in touch with the land registry, she actually told me to sign the contract as it was and send it back to the Solicitors who are dealing with the sale, at no point have the Housing Association mentioned anything about a lease. I am really concerned now. What have I ploughed all my money into not a leasehold property I hope, it cant be someone would have surely pointed this out. Please can you help as I don't want to sign this contract that states my property is leasehold, as I say it was advertised by the Estate Agents as freehold, where would they get there information from. Louise.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi Louise,

Thanks for your question.

Did you originally purchase the property as a Shared Ownership property and then subsequently purchase 100% of the property (ie. by "staircasing" to 100% from the original percentage that you bought?

Kind regards

Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes exactly I bought 50% in 2003 and the other 50% in 2013

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Hi

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

It should be relatively straight forward to sort out.

When a property is a freehold property and a buyer purchases a shared ownership interest in it, the housing association is registered as the owner of the freehold of the property and the buyer is granted a leasehold shared ownership interest out of the freehold by the housing association in accordance with the percentage share they originally purchase.

Once the owner has staircased to 100% then they can make an application to the Land Registry with the housing association to remove the lease interest they previous had and replace the housing association as the freehold owner.

If you purchase 100% from the housing association then their records will reflect this, but it appears in this case that neither you or the housing association made the application to the land registry to remove the shared ownership lease and register you as the new freehold owner.

What has to happen now is that you and yoru solicitor should contact the housing association and get their consent to the application to the land registry. They will give the consent if you own 100%, no question.

It will probably take a couple of weeks to sort out from the date your solicitor writes to the housing association and, rightly, the buyer’s solicitor will not exchange until the freehold is in your name but it won’t delay things too much.

A bit of a pain, but almost certainly no more than that.


My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.


Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


One thing I noticed on the land registry document which I had to request from my Solicitor, the one who dealt with the Housing Association purchase, it said something about a 99 year lease on the second page but on the front page it had me as the sole owner but as you can imagine I was so concerned and worried, but then I kept thinking to myself it cant possibly be leasehold as the Housing Association and also the Solicitor when questioned about it said it was definitely freehold. Should I sign this contract that states it is leasehold or wait until it changes to freehold, I am concerned that if the woman who is actually buying my house sees her part of the contract which states it is leasehold she might change her mind about buying the property. Is there anything I can do to chase things up a bit, two weeks is a long time to wait, I know it isn't very nice to say but the Solicitor who was dealing with this had to be reminded so many times about things, she should have sorted all this out, should she not. Louise. I notice I don't seem to have Thomas dealing with this anymore will another Solicitor know what we have been discussing?

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi Louise,

Thanks for your reply.

You have to stay in close consultation with your solicitor.

If you have bought of 100% of your shared ownership property then you will be entitled to the freehold without a doubt.

Whether the freehold title has been updated to reflect this is the issue. You will be able to update the register but it will take a bit of sorting out.

The freehold is registered in your name at the moment or it is not. Ask your solicitor to confirm. If your solicitor said "it's definitely freehold" then you have to ask them whether they mean the freehold is in your name or whether they mean that you are entitled to have it in your name and an appropriate application will shortly be made.

If the solicitor acted for you when you purchased the whole 100% then they should have arranged the application to the Land Registry and, if they did, then you have to ask why they did not and ask for them to do it now as a matter of urgency.

A simply explanation of the admistrative hold up to the buyer's solicitor will put their mind at rest I would think.

Kind regards,

Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Thomas, just one more question, which now makes me feel unsettled. The completion date when I bought my 100% was 30th Aug 2013 and I found a letter from my solicitor when I was sorting out my deeds to send off. This letter was dated 30th Aug 2013 completion day I would have received it on the 31st or later maybe, it says We have received a copy of the lease that still applies to your property although you are buying the freehold, the conditions still affect your use of the building and so attach a copy, any queries please let us know and in brackets before completion or otherwise any issues will be too late. We confirm we have clear search results and funds and are hopeful we can complete today. which we did, I cant understand why I received this letter after the completion date and all I can imagine is I had completed and just put the letter on file, thinking nothing of it. Something just isn't right here. Louise.

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

You have to ask your solicitor why they considered that the lease should remain in place if you are buying 100%, perhaps there are some provisions in the lease requiring it for a certain period of time (although I do doubt it a bit).

Your solicitor is the only one with access to all the necessary documentation to clarify and resolve the situation.

I smell an oversight in here somewhere to be honest, but if it's simply the case that the lease should be terminated and the freehold registered in your name then it will be easy to sort out.

Press your solicitor for an explanation of why the freehold is not in your name, if they state a reason then get them to refer you to the particular part of the lease that requires it.

I expect you will be fine once your solicitor gets their hands around it.

Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again, sorry to be such a pest but I am very concerned and while I am talking with you I would like to say once again I have asked my Solicitor a number of times about the freehold and she says she has been in touch with the land registry to sort things out and again she says it just needs to be changed but then I find this letter that she has sent after completion. Have you ever heard of a case where you own 100% of a property which is leasehold, if it is what would happen after 99years, although I wont be here, it will definitely be difficult to sell and I honestly would not have paid all this money out, I paid a substantial amount in 2003 and then again in 2013 it was a lot more than I expected to pay but I wanted to own my own home. Can I ask you once again should I sign this contract that states the property is leasehold or not. If the worst comes to the worst what can I do or say if my Solicitor now comes back to me and says it is leasehold and all the way through my buying process I have been led to believe it to be freehold, with not a mention from either the Housing Association or my Solicitor to make me think anything different, until I receive a letter after completion. What can I do next? Louise.

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

It's possible that the shared ownership lease required that it remains as a lease after you purchased 100% because they have an option of first refusal when you sell the property (if they do have an option). This might explain it, but I don't know because I cannot see the lease/land registry titles.

I would not sign the contract or exchange contracts until your solicitor has resolved (1) whehter you should be registered as the freehold owner and, if so, once you are registered as the freehold owner and (3) once the solicitor has confirmed whether or not there is an option of first refusal on the property in the housing association's favour.

This what you should do next. Everything else is just speculation which is useless at this point until the facts are established via your solicitor.

Kind regards,

Tom
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