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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I bought a share of freehold flat in 2006. The flat is one

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I bought a share of freehold flat in 2006. The flat is one of three in a converted terrace house.
At the time of buying I signed documents agreeing to become a director in the ‘management company’, of which all the owners of the flats were supposed to be directors, and which owned the freehold.
This was never actioned. I don’t know why.
Over six years ago the company was dissolved, without our knowledge. Because of this the freehold was seized by the crown.
It only came to light when one of the flats attempted to sell, and discovered this major problem.
Since then we have tried everything we can think of to try to re-instate the company (only one owner of the three flats is named as Director). We have spent thousands of pounds gathering company accounts (which consist mainly of our electricity bills payments for the communal area) and any information we have to present to companies house.
We heard today that as it was dissolved over 6 years ago, Companies House are unwilling to re-instate it. As far as we know, unless we re-instate the company (and name the rightful owners as Directors) we will be unable to reclaim our property from the crown.
We don’t know what to do. Please help us.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Have you asked the Treasury Solicitor if he will sell you the freehold?
How much is the ground rent?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, thanks for your response.

Who is the Treasury Solicitor? (Please treat me as an idiot!)

And would that likely be a large sum? We have already paid for our flats and wouldn't be able to afford to buy them again...

We pay £35 each per month into a joint account in the name of Windus Road Management Company, and use this to pay our electricity bills etc. There isn't any other ground rent.

Thank you. Ruth.

In all honesty, I do not think there is anything to worry about with this and it should be relatively easy to resolve and it may have been cheaper to resolve it the way I am going to suggest and spending all the money that you have already spent.
This should have been dealt with quite easily with an indemnity policy for absent landlord which pays for any costs in the event that a landlord or someone claiming to be the landlord pops up out of the woodwork and wants money in respect of previous ground rents or anything else.
If that is not acceptable to a buyer or you cannot obtain insurance all is not lost.
As the company has been dissolved and cannot be reinstated, the freehold is now owned by the Crown as Bona Vacantia (Google will give you plenty of reading)
Bona Vacantia matters and matters with regard to legal issues with the Crown in general are dealt with by the Treasury Solicitor. That is the title of the department that deals with this.
There is very little ground rent and depending on the length of the lease is on the property (999 years?) The freehold reversion may be worth very little if any money.
If that is the case, then the freehold would be more of a liability than an asset to the Crown and the Crown would probably want to get rid of it.
However the Crown realises that it has a value to you and therefore the Crown will want some money.
It is a straightforward purchase and sale in the same way as any other. What you should do is contact the Treasury Solicitor, explained the situation and ask how much the Crown wants to sell you the freehold. You will have to prove that you have the interest in it but that should not be a problem.
There is no negotiating and the price is the price, you either take it or leave it. However you will find that the price is generally reasonable.
Unless you have experience of dealing with matters like this, you may want to entrust it to a solicitor but the cost, divided between all the flat owners is not going to be prohibitive.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Thanks very much. A look online gives me the addresses of the Treasury Solicitor etc, so this feels promising.

Having emailed the other flat owners just now, it sounds as though we looked into this before but it looked like it was going to be about £15,000 to buy back (although I think that was an estimation from some advisor somewhere). Is that about what you would expect? Our flats are worth about £300K each.

I think we will now formulate an application, and pray that the actual price offered is less than this. In your experience, is it worth being really charming and trying to tug on their heart strings? If it’s a price that they decide then it might be?

Thanks so much for your help. I will give you a good rating now.