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tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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I am the owner one of six flats and each owner is a director

Customer Question

I am the owner one of six flats and each owner is a director of the company and we own the freehold. The head lease has various conditions one of which is that each property should be used as a single family unit. The owner of the ground floor has broken almost every clause in the lease. She was running an upholstery business from the flat until we explained that her equipment may invalidate the buildings insurance. Since then she has sold half of her flat to a friend and we are aware that the flat has been divided into two dwellings. They obtained planning permission for the conversion of a front window to a door as they needed access to the front garden without consulting the other directors. There is now a further door to the front from the other half and when visiting the other day I found one of the flower beds had been removed. I was told curtly that the lady was putting in steps to her lovely new front door and she didn't need planning - I retorted that she may not need planning but it would be a courtesy to consult the other directors prior to such works. The two ladies who own the ground floor flat (1/6th of the building) now monopolise the garden to the exclusion of the other residents, they are rude and noisy. The owner of the flat above has lost 3 sets of tenants due to noise pollution and has now had two sales fall through after the buyers 'met the neighbours'. The last straw is that the roof of the building needs replacing and the ground floor residents are adamant they will only contribute if we use their preferred contractors. What rights do the other five owners have as the majority directors. We have been bullied by the owners of this flat from the outset and voting against their ideas has no effect so we feel powerless! Help!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 4 years ago.

Hello, my name is Tony and I can help you with this.


Firstly, can you tell me whether the lease itself has a forfeiture clause in it? This is a clause that entitled the landlord company to end the lease if it is breached?


Thank you


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Not that I am aware of. I'll double check and get back to you. Thank you.

Expert:  tdlawyer replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome, let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have found the following clause in the lease but would it really be enforceable and if so how? :

Proviso for determination of lease on non-payment of rent etc

6_ Provided always and it is hereby agreed and declared that if and whenever the service rent hereby reserved or any part thereof shall be in arrear and unpaid for twenty-one days after the same shall have become due (whether the same shall have been formally demanded or not) or if the tenant shall at any time fail or neglect to perform or observe any of the covenants or conditions herein contained and on the part of the tenant to be performed and observed then and in any such case and thenceforth the Company may by notice in writing served upon the tenant specify the non-payment of rent breach of covenant or non-performance of condition complained of and require the same to be paid or remedied within such time as may be specified in the notice being a time or either not less than twenty-one days in the case of non-payment of rent or not less than a reasonable time in the case of breach of covenant or non-performance of any condition and if the tenant shall omit to pay or remedy the same within the time so specified the term hereby created shall absolutely cease and determine and the Tenant shall be excluded from the exercise or enjoyment of the amenity rights hereby demised but without prejudice to any right of action or remedy of the Company in respect of any antecedent breach of any of the covenants on the part of the tenant herein contained.

Expert:  tdlawyer replied 4 years ago.

This clause allow you to serve a notice requiring any breaches of the lease to be put right. You could include things like ceasing to operate a business, rectify any division in the property etc. etc.

The notice would give at least 21 days to put the breaches right.

If they failed, you would then apply to the court for a declaration that the breach had occured and confirmation that you're entitled to forfeit the lease. You have to apply to the court for residential properties like this.

Once that happens though, if the court agrees that there have been breaches that have not been rectified, then you're entitled to end the lease and the ownership of their property passes to the landlord company. They have to then leave.

This is a powerful weapon and this is why you have to go to court to confirm the breaches first.

If this answers your question, would you please remember to rate the answer for me.

Many thanks