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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10412
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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I found a house to buy which is divided in 4 flats in The Borough

Resolved Question:

I found a house to buy which is divided in 4 flats in The Borough of Lewisham Se6 London. The estate agent mentioned that there was not planning permission to divide it into 4 flats. However, I checked the Land Registry and the property is registered under the same owner as 4 flats. Question: can a property be registered as 4 flats without having obtained prior planning permission to divide it into 4 flats? The property is an old Victorian house.
And can I find a building society which will provide. 50% mortgage to buy the property. ( I can easily get a mortgage for a clean property)
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

Thanks for your enquiry.

Are you saying that each Flat is registered at the Land Registry under separateTitle Numbers?

Have the other flats been sold?

Do you know when the conversion took place?

I look forward to hearing from you.

AL

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Find a property - search results
Please see extract from the Land registry. The property is registered as one house, and then each flat is again trgistred separately. The Lewisham Council,advised that the planning application for converting into 4 flats has been refused. The flats of course have not and cannot be sold, since there is no planning permission for their existence.
The conversion took place recently, within the last year, despite refusal of its planning permission.
The mortgage society will lend us the money, but will have it released upon returning it to a family house. This is exactly what we want to do. The council advised that they do not,require a planning permission to reconvert the property into a family house.
But, still, how come the flats are registered with the land registry since they are built without planning permission?
If we manage to buy the property, Will there be a risk for a fine to be paid, which will burden a new owner of the property, of, if a fine is imposed, it will be demanded by the previous owner who committed the the conversion without planning permission?
Your enquiry has found 5 properties- the results are listed below.
You may wish to modify your search or make a new enquiry.
Properties that exactly match 149, Se6 2ae:
149, Laleham Road, London, SE6 2AE
Tenure:
Freehold Price Paid/Value Stated Data: Yes
(1) See important note
Properties that are similar to 149, Se6 2ae:
Flat 1, 149, Laleham Road, London, SE6 2AE
Tenure:
Freehold Price Paid/Value Stated Data: Yes
(1) See important note
Flat 2, 149, Laleham Road, London, SE6 2AE
Tenure:
Freehold Price Paid/Value Stated Data: Yes
(1) See important note
Flat 3, 149, Laleham Road, London, SE6 2AE
Tenure:
Freehold Price Paid/Value Stated Data: Yes
(1) See important note
Flat 4, 149, Laleham Road, London, SE6 2AE
Tenure:
Freehold
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Raymond,

Thanks for your reply.

As planning permission was not granted for the conversion, the "existing planning permission/use" of the building remains in place (ie as one single dwelling).

Terefore, no action will be taken by the Council if the property is used and occupied as a single dwelling. (The Council will only take enforcement action if the property is used in breach of the permitted use, which is as a single dwelling. Any action is taken against the owner of the property at the time the breach occurs).

As regards ***** ***** in order to create the 4 Leases, the Landlord/Freeholder (let's call him X) must have granted the 4 Leases to a third party or to himself plus a third party (let's call him Y), as a perso

an not grant themselves a Lease. Therefore, to enable you to proceed you will need X and Y to surrender all 4 Leases, so they in effect disappear and you are then left with just one Freehold Land Registry title. This can be done by X and Y entering into a Deed of Surrender of each of the Leases, which is then registered at the Land Registry, who will then close each of the Leasehold titles. Your Solicitor can request this happens before completion.

I am not sure why the 4 Leases have been created- it would be normal for planning permission to be granted for a conversion and then the Freeholder creates the individual Leases. Not sure, therefore, why the Freeholder granted the Leases before permission was granted!

Subject to the Leases being surrendered, any Mortgage Lender is only likely to lend once the property has been converted back to a single dwelling, and I note you are aware of this.

I hope this assists you and answers your question.

Kind Regards

AL

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply, could you please correct/complete a half sentence, which seems garbled or unfinished, in your third paragraph , so I can understand the content. I quote it below for your ref.
As regards ***** ***** in order to create the 4 Leases, the Landlord/Freeholder (let's call him X) must have granted the 4 Leases to a third party or to himself plus a third party (let's call him Y), as a perso
an not grant themselves a Lease
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Pls also note that all properties are register under one and same title number
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

Apologies- the sentence should have read "As regards ***** ***** a person can not grant themselves a Lease and has to be granted to a third party or himself and a third party".

If it is Ok, I will have a look at the Land Registry website when I get into the office this morning to check the position as regards ***** ***** I will come back to you after 10am.

Kind Regards

AL

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hi Raymond,
I have checked on the Land Registry portal and it does appear that there is only 1 Title Number for the property, being SGL45934, which is for the Freehold. Hence, luckily, no legal interest has been created in respect of the "4 Flats".
The Land Registry does of course show the property as Number 149 and also lists Flats 1-4. I am not sure why this is so- I can only guess that when the property was registered that the owner specified the address as being the Freehold as well as Flats 1-4. You will need to enquire of the Seller about this issue, but the owner can make a simple application to the Land Registry to change "the address details" ie request the Land Registry to show that the property is merely*****
Subject to the above point, as the property is registered Freehold with no Leasehold titles, you would be free to proceed.
I hope this assists and answers your question.
Kind Regards
AL
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What is meant by no legal interest has been created in respect of the 4 flats? Eg, I do not understand the term legal interest. Eg can the owner despite the fact there is only one title sell one or more of these flats separately, while I am in the middle of the process of buying the house?
Planning Permission has been refused to convert the property into 4 flats. Is it not illegal for the Land Registry to accept separate registration of 4 flats of the same house, under the same Title, when no planning permission has been granted? Or, when one applies for planning permission, to convert a property into 4 flats, he has the right to register them before being granted planning permission?
I am trying to see if there is something risky in this property before proceeding.
Thank you again.
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Raymond,

What I meant is that no Lease (no leashold interest) has been created for any of the 4 flats, so as and when the owner sells, all he would be able to sell is the Freehold of the whole building. Hence, the Seller would not be able to sell just one of the flats, for example, unless he grants a Lease of the flat to the Buyer.

It isn't illegal for the Land Registry in showing the 4 flat addresses- I really can't say why this has been done, and you will need to speak to the owner as to his reasons for doing this. Certainly, he didn't need to "register" the property as being comprised of 4 flats before then applying for planning permission to convert the building into 4 flats.

I am sure it will become apparent once the enquiry has been raised with the Seller.

Kind Regards

AL

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Experience: LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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