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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practicing Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I am in the process of selling the leasehold on my flat. I

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I am in the process of selling the leasehold on my flat. I have a buyer who is keen to move in but the stumbling block is that my solicitor is unable to get a response (either by phone, letter or e-mail) from the solicitor who is acting for the freeholder. We need this solicitor to provide a lease pack but they simply will not respond. I am worried sick that I will lose my buyer who will get fed up and buy somewhere else. I have had to move from this upstairs flat due to health reasons and, with financial help from my family, am now settled in a downstairs flat nearby but I am paying out full council tax, standing charge electricity bills and insurance on this empty flat which I am struggling to pay as I am an old age pensioner. All this has been going on since July this year. Doesn't a freeholder have a responsibility towards a leaseholder who is selling the leasehold? I don't know what to do next. My solicitor just keeps saying that she is "chasing" the freeholder's solicitor. I would be grateful for your advice. Many thanks.
Matt Jones :

HI I am sorry to hear of your predicament.

Matt Jones :

Did you say that the persona acting for the freeholder is a solicitor? have they given a reason why they cant provide the pack?


It is a firm of solicitors who is acting for the freeholder. They have not responded to requests to make contact from my solicitor - my solicitor has sent letters, e-mails and has made phone calls - so, therefore, as they have not responded they have not given a reason why they can't provide a pack. I suppose it is possible that they no longer act for the freeholder but if that is the case at least they should let my solicitor know that shouldn't they? It doesn't seem like a satisfactory professional way for a firm of solicitors to behave.

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We now have now switched to Q&A
Could you please repeat what you typed earlier as it doesn't seem to have been re-produced above?
HI ***** help further?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not very happy with the service you are providing so far I must say. I don't know why I have to keep repeating myself! So once again; the solicitor acting for the freeholder is not responding to my solicitor's request for a lease pack. My solicitor has contacted them by letter, e-mail and telephone and they are not responding. You asked me if I knew the reason why they had not provided a lease pack and, as I have already said, THEY ARE NOT RESPONDING, so I how could I possibly know. I do not consider that the freeholder's solicitor is behaving in a professional manner by ignoring requests for information.

Sorry about having to repeat yourself, I think it was just a glitch in the system.
As to the Solicitors lack of action there are likely two or three reasons why they are not replying.
1) They are not instructed, or not formally instructed by the Freeholder.
2) They are instructed but unable to obtain formal instructions from them or
3) They are instructed an they are either over worked or for some other reason they are not replying
In any event I think the pressure need to be placed firmly on the Freeholder rather than the Solicitors. The Freeholder has an obligation not to unreasonably with hold consent to an assignment of the lease (as per section 19(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927). There is an argument that if they are delaying unreasonably in responding to the request (as in 1 or 2 above) they they are being "unreasonable" in granting the full consent request (I realise that it is the pack of information you require but this forms the general agreement for consent to assign the lease). You should write (or get your lawyer to write) directly to the Freeholder and essentially read them the riot act based on these principles of law.
If the reason for the delay is more to with point 3 above, then this will have the effect of putting them on notice that their Solicitor is being unresponsive and should get them to chase their Solicitor up.
I hope this helps you. Do ask any follow up questions.
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