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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10248
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We are buying a very old cottage and a lease was discovered

Customer Question

we are buying a very old cottage and a lease was discovered of 800 years this was back in 1865... the owner has lived there for over 45 years and was not aware of it
no names and what its for can be found? land register are happy to change this to a approved freehold what does that mean?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Hello for info - where was this lease found please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
it was found on the convance papers, no other paper work is available we don't know anything else about who, what, etc
we have just been given by land register department a form of freehold that's not absolute freehold. so are getting a insurance policy to cover this. should I pay less for this property ? the lease has been running for over 200 years and has 600 years left so its as good as freehold? so every one saying.... last owner lived there for 50 years totally unaware of this lease,
can I appeal this and carry on my fight obtain total freehold, are they any time limits to do this now
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Thank you. As you appreciate, this is not a common scenario. What you have here is a lease for which there seems to be no known owner or occupier stops nonetheless, there is a lease and someone can come out of the woodwork after many years and decide that they have the benefit of it. What would then happen is you would have to look through the lease and decide whether they had complied with any covenants of a tenant in the lease with a view to foreclosing on the lease.

The likelihood of that happening is remote in the extreme but there is a possibility which is why you have to arrange an indemnity policy or, rather, the seller has to arrange an indemnity policy.

You ask whether you should be asking for a price reduction. Well, the reality is that legally you have no right to one but on a practical basis, you can ask for whatever you like and it comes down to negotiation between you and the seller because if they will reduce the price then you either pay the price or walk away from this. It’s just hard negotiating tactics.

The lease doesn’t lapse just because it hasn’t been used for a few years, it only gets extinguished either through mutual consent between the freeholder and the leaseholder or if the freeholder forecloses on the lease for breach.

.Can I clarify anything else for you? I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.