Absent freeholders can cause problems but these problems are not insurmountable

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a page on the subject of absent freeholders – refer to post 23 September 2011.

One year on, and I think now that I sounded too pessimistic back then!  While the procedures remain as I outlined a year ago, and these procedures can take their time, flat owners are often in a better position with an absent freeholder than they would be if the freeholder exists.

Flat owners who seek to acquire their lease extension and/or their freehold from an absent freeholder will recover, in most instances, ALL of their costs incurred in pursuing the absent freeholder and the costs or fees incurred in obtaining their lease extension and/or their freehold.  These costs will include their legal costs and the professional fees of their expert witnesses.  We have dealt with several more cases in the last 12 months, so, if you would like further advice or assistance … please contact me, Mike Tibbatts MRICS.

We had the busiest August we can remember and this ended with us giving expert evidence in an unnecessarily complicated Leasehold Valuation Tribunal hearing (LVT) on 3rd September on the subject of potential loss of development value as part of the enfranchisement price to be paid for a block of flats in Sutton, Surrey; the LVT’s decision is likely to be published in mid October.

Through our membership of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners’ (ALEP) PR sub-committee, we are seeking increased exposure in the press and through trade magazines of this specialised area of professional work; we will tweet or blog these developments as they occur.

ALEP is a not-for-profit association that brings together solicitors, surveyors, enfranchisement intermediaries and managing agents working in the residential sector.  ALEP promotes best practice by vetting members to ensure they have significant expertise in leasehold enfranchisement.  Membership of ALEP acts as a badge of assurance so that flat owners and freeholders can be confident that they are employing professionals with the right level of expertise in handling, potentially, complex transactions.

For further information about ALEP, telephone 0845 225 2277 or visit www.alep.org.uk

You can follow ALEP on Twitter at twitter.com/alepofficial and you can also follow Mike Tibbatts MRICS at twitter.com/tibbsurveyors.