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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Are the deeds and the lease the same thing? We own an

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are the deeds and the lease the same thing? We own an apartment in a block of 10 and are shareholders in a limited company of all the owners. We wish to remove an internal non loadbearing wall which we have confirmed by having a structural survey done, but have been told by the managing agent that we are unable to do so because 4 of the 10 have objected because in the deeds it says we cannot cut or remove the walls girders or timbers. We have been given permission by the landlord. Could we get an amendment to the deeds by majority vote?

Hi thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. A deed and a lease are seperate but also one in the same. A lease describes an arrangement by which some one typically acquires rights over land- a deed is the instrument the creates the lease and makes it legally enforceable. A deed is different from a contract in the sense that although it creates legally binding obligations it does so under seal (signed sealed witnessed and delivered) - a contract is an exchange of promises. If everyone's lease is under a deed you would need permission to amend each persons individual lease (and therefore deed). If you have been given permission by the landlord I am not sure a lease amendment is necessary - is the load bearing wall in your demised property? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
of the 10 apartments in the block, ours is the only one with this particular wall. This is because at the time they were built in 1970 the architect presumably thought that people would not like to walk directly into the kitchen from the entrance door so this small wall creates a narrow hallway bypassing the kitchen. Without the wall we would be able to have a dining kitchen and walking into it from the front door would not be an issue for us. The position of our apartment on the end of the block means only the neighbour directly above us could be impacted and we would be prepared to put in a steel girder which is not neccessary structurally, to allay any concerns they may have.
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Hi, Thank you. Is the limited company the legal freeholder? Or is it a management company? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Limited Company is the underleasor in the deeds and the owners of each apartment are the underleasee. We are all directors of this comapny. There is also a management company appointed by the underleasees to manage the day to day upkeep of the apartment grounds and buildings which consists of 10 apartments and a separate block of 10 garages, and a garden area. There are no communal areas in the block, each apartment having it's own front door which open to the outside of the building. There is also a Landlord from whom we have written permission to take down the wall but they have said they would not go against the management company. It is all very confusing. When we first contacted the managing agent she told us there would be no problem with removing the wall but then one of the neighbours rang her and told her she had overstepped the mark because of what was in the lease/deeds. By that time we had spent money on the survey and got permission from the landlord but she then said she would have to write to all the other owners "as a courtesy" before giving the go ahead. This is when 4 of the 10 objected, at the urging of the original neighbour.

Hi, Thank you. Are you a director of the limited company? And does the limited company have any articles or association or requirements for unanimous voting? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we are a director of the limited company but as we only purchased the property on April 26th and there was a delay in transfering the directorship from the previous owner to us because she had changed her name we have not had any paperwork regarding the limited company from either our solicitor or the managing agent. We believe this was finally sorted last week.

Hi, Thank you. Technically a limited company can act through its directors, so if the directors approve your change then they can allow the company to give consent. Would you be able to get any of the dissenting 4 on side? Would you need to access their properties at all? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Alex, Unfortunately we don't know who the dissenting 4 are as the managing agent refused to tell us, we only suspect that our neighbours next door are one of them. Our property is completely self contained and the wall in question is only 6ft long and only abuts to the ceiling of the apartment above. It is nowhere near any of the other apartments. As I said earlier it is non loadbearing but we would be prepared to put in an RSJ even though it is not neccesary. Our builders are starting work on Monday and I am tempted to tell them to take it down anyway but don't want to get into an expensive court case. The company only has a bank balance of £5000 so the directors would probably have to pay up to take legal proceedings. What is the worst case scenario if we went down that route? Would it have to be agreed unanimously if the directors voted on it. Thanks MJ

Hi, Thank you. The worst case scenario is the intermediate would sue you for breach of the lease, and you would sued by your neighbours for any damage caused to their property. That said I am not sure that would actually work because a) you have the landlords permission and b) the company would need the shareholders consent to commence litigation (or at least the directors consent). If you started the work there is a risk you would be sued, but I am not sure that is a foregone conclusion. Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your help Alex. I know there is no definitative answer you can give. I think we will have to accept that we have to work with what we have got. Doesn't lead to good neighbourly relations though. This is our first time at communial living and at the moment it feels like there is nothing like having your own 4 walls so that within reason you can do what you want. Reason is the key word. If I could see a reason for the objections other than sticking religiously to the terms of the lease I would accept it more easily.
Thanks again MJ

Hi, Thank you. Ultimately the landlord has given you consent so you wont be in breach of the lease. Is the consent in writing? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we have the consent of the landlord in writing. I have attached the file together with the letter which the management agent sent to the other residents and her letter to us refusing consent.
Thanks again MJ

Hi, Thank you. The wall you are removing, is it just a dry wall? Does it contain any girders in it? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No girders just breeze block

Hi, Thank you. The restriction say you must main or remove the wall Girders or timbers. I am not quite sure the management company have understood the lease. Why dont you write to them and ask them to confirm that you wont be in breach as long as you do not remove or maim the girders or timbers?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you saying because there is no comma after the word walls, it means you must not remove the girders or timbers of the walls, not you must not remove the walls?

Thank you. I have not seen the lease it seen the lease - often leases do not use punctuation so this could just unclear. Taking a step back - Who is the landlord on your lease? Is this the person that has consented to the works? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That is what we can't get our heads around. The original lease dates from 1874. There are other dates of 1911, 1920, 1970 and 1972 but the landlord throughout seems to be St Annes Sea and Land Building Company.The style of language used makes it difficult to understand. I think the lack of a comma between walls and girders if that is the norm in leases is open to interpretation? or not?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Alex for your time and effort but I think we will have to accept that we are stuck with the wall. I will leave it at that as the builders are starting work on the kitchen on Monday and once it is in it is in. At our age we will not be redoing the kitchen again.What do I need to do for you to get your money?

Hi, Thank you. The key thing to do here, is to consider who do you actually need consent from? The answer is your landlord - if you have this consent, then the residents should have no grounds to block the works. If you rate my answer 3-5 stars I would be most grateful. I am happy to continue assisting you further. Kind regards AJ

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One more thing Alex, the letters I attached have our details on them. Can anyone using this site access them and if so can they be deleted? MJ

Hi thank you. I ll mark this thread as containing personal info and have it closed to be certain. Kind regards AJ