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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17265
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We are attempting to purchase our lease. However, the head

Customer Question

We are attempting to purchase our lease. However, the head leasee has refused our application twice with no explanation. Our solicitors have suggested employing a specialist solicitor as they have not experienced this level of awkwardness (their words) from a landlord previously. What is our legal position? If we were to go to court can they be forced to sell the freehold?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Yes. We had a surveyor prepare the necessary documents and we employed a solicitors to handle the submission of our notice. We have followed the formal route as laid out in the .GOV website so we cannot understand why they are behaving as they are
JA: Where is the freehold located?
Customer: Letchworth Garden City. The LGCHF accepted the notice
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The firm we used is Friis and Radstone, Station Road, Letchworth. They have said there is no more they can do having had the notice reviewed by multiple colleagues, some from outside their firm, all of whom saw nothing wrong with the notice for basis of rejection
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 12 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

are you asking if you should seek out a specialist firm?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
but also where we stand in terms of the Law. I thought we had a right to buy under current legislation?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 12 days ago.

Provided there are more than to properties, and no more than 50% of the building is commercial, then you have the right having the statutory right of enfranchisement which is not rocket science.

I can’t imagine for one moment that if you didn’t fit the criteria, the solicitors would have even gone this far. Further, they have had the notice reviewed by multiple colleagues including external people so this seems to be no point in querying the notice.

It may be that the freeholder simply doesn’t know what they are doing.

I don’t whether they have written back and said that your application was defective or they have ignored it or refused. It would be interesting to see a copy of the refusal.

What is your legal position? You can indeed take them to the Leasehold Tribunal to compel them to sell the freehold and you can ask the court to award costs against them on the grounds of their grossly unreasonable behaviour.

I don’t whether you have already threatened legal action and costs and suggested that they take legal advice but if not, that should be the next step if it has not been already done.

It has been done, then you are off to the tribunal.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

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Best wishes.