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Anyone know about buying freehold to a house in the north

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peak416/10/2019 21:26:53
1075 forum posts
124 photos
Posted by Ian Parkin on 16/10/2019 20:53:08:


its the church actually


At least they're likely to be a reasonable landlord, but if they plan on selling regardless, then it's anyone's guess who will buy.
I'm not sure what's the reason for these estates companies hoovering up bulk leases, but I guess it's so that they can charge fees for various "services". If you read my earlier link to a Google Review, some are less scrupulous than others.

One of my previous neighbours was charged something north of £400 for permission to build a small extension, and another told they would have a fee to pay as they'd added a wooden summerhouse down the garden.

You don't need many of those to get payback if you've bought a bulk lot of leases at a Mark Jenkinson auction at Bramhall Lane, assuming they get them at a knock down rate.

The advice I received, was to see if the neighbours were interested in clubbing together to share costs.

Do you have a copy of your lease, for either you or a solicitor, to check the small print? Is there anything about Chancel Repair Liability in there?

It may be that the church are selling, prior to the implementation of the new law, should it ever get passed. £2.5K may be more than they would expect to raise elsewhere.

Perhaps Mr Shaw could tell you if he thinks it worthwhile engaging him. wink

Good Luck,


Edited By peak4 on 16/10/2019 21:31:32

julian atkins16/10/2019 21:57:12
1232 forum posts
353 photos

Hello Ian,

I have purchased the freehold for 2 previous houses/homes I have owned. It simplifies things if you sell.

My first house was on a long lease dating back to around 1890. Minimal ground rent. As I was then an Articled Clerk/Trainee Solicitor, I cheekily asked the leaseholder's Solicitor if the £150 charge to buy the freehold could be waived, which it was, and I was sent a bill for the legal costs of £50 (This was 1990).

My second house had title deeds that were 13" high when stacked on my desk. The house was subject to 2 long leases with nominal ground rent going back to the 1800s (2 different parcels of land that constituted part of the property; there was additionally a 3rd parcel that was freehold). I was then a qualified Solicitor. I knew the Solicitor for the freeholder of the 2 leases, and I think it cost me £250 in total to buy the 2 freeholds. I submitted to the Land Registry what a colleague of 40 years experience described as the most complex application he had ever encountered. The 13" stack of deeds was reduced to a simple 1 page Land Registration A4 sheet. A subsequent sale was very quick and easy as a result.

With old long leases (typically building leases) of houses with a nominal ground rent, the owner of the freehold often has a liability on their hands, and I would consider the £2500 sale price to be very high and unjustified; so some considerable room for haggling!



Bob Mc16/10/2019 22:07:34
150 forum posts
1 photos

I don't know if anyone has actually looked at the utube parliamentary discussion I mentioned in my last post, but with all due respect for those of you thinking of purchasing freehold...... I would at least consider that the National Leashold Campaign, the organisation trying to abolish leases, is gaining strength with the political help of Sir Peter Bottomley.

Listening to the parliamentary discussion of what the group said just a few days ago, on the 2/10/19 it seems fairly obvious that there are changes afoot and I think it would be best to wait and see what transpires before making a commitment to purchase.

What really makes me hopefull is the disparaging way in which Sir Peter talks about what is known as the "Leasehold Scandal"., and the companies that run them.

What I said in my last post I re-iterate... see utube "parliamentary discussion on Leasehold and Commonhold Parliamentary Reform" , it seems particularly coincidental that freeholds are being offered for sale at this time, and could be due to those companies wanting to make some money before the bottom drops out of their cash cow.

Hope the link below works

Parliamentary discussion on Leasehold Reform


vintage engineer16/10/2019 22:18:28
247 forum posts
1 photos

If they are going to sell it on the open market there must room for profit. If you decide to sell your property the landlord can charge you to reassign the lease to the purchaser.

I would read the lease very carefully.

Posted by Ian Parkin on 16/10/2019 20:53:08:


its the church actually

They say if i dont buy within a month they will assume i dont want to and then put it on the open market

next question...... Why would some company want to buy it ?

Surely not for the privilidge of invoicing me for £6 every year

This cant go up for 800~+ years

Theres no covenents saying I have to ask to do anything to the said house

Its in a conservation area so not much scope fro extending

SillyOldDuffer16/10/2019 22:24:42
5607 forum posts
1153 photos
Posted by peak4 on 16/10/2019 21:26:53:
Posted by Ian Parkin on 16/10/2019 20:53:08:


its the church actually


At least they're likely to be a reasonable landlord...

The Church of England's assets are managed by the Church Commissioners not by the Church. The Commissioners focus on finance rather than religion, and although they are supposed to act ethically there have been a few embarrassments. The Board of Govenors includes the First Lord of the Treasury and the Lord President of the Council. (Currently Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.)

Not sure how worried I would be about a 999 year lease. These old long term leases generally have a low impact because many landlords don't even bother to collect the token rents. (£12 a year was well worth collecting in 1918, not now!) But there have also been attempts to raise money by aggresively insisting householders fully meet all the Terms and Conditions of the original agreement. These can get in the way of sales, property development, and impose other inconveniences. The idea seems to be to create enough nusiance so that housholders cough up a relatively small sum to get rid of them. It can all be challenged in the courts but the costs are intimidating. Unlikely that the Church Commissioners are going to behave badly, but they do have a lot of pensions to pay and expensive buildings to maintain. It's their job to raise money...



Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 16/10/2019 22:25:56

julian atkins16/10/2019 22:36:27
1232 forum posts
353 photos

The 'furore' over NEW leaseholds has nothing to do with Ian's case which will be an old probably Victorian long lease with a minimal ground rent and no other charges.

Please note the facts relevant to Ian's case, and not go 'off thread'.



Mark Simpson 117/10/2019 07:01:31
79 forum posts
23 photos

Buying a freehold from the church Commissioners can be legally "interesting"... I've spent a lot of time with our village Scouts and Guides over the years and we wanted to buy the freehold for a strip of land through which the only road access to our HQ ran. An unoffcial arrangement in 1946 between the vicar led to the 1st HQ being built on his chicken run (wartime meant he was unable to get more hens); no problems for the next 60 years.

Fast forward to the 2000's and with a new HQ built on land we managed to buy behind the original site, we started to try and buy the leasehold for the little access strip.

After more than 10 years we got offered a fair price, but the church set the terms and wanted to use their standard contract. Then it got really interesting, we got a document from their solicitors with dozens of pages of adenda. We were extremely fortunate to have a parent who was a really good land lawyer to strip away 98% of it.

We are not now responsible for the maintenance of a window in the diocesan cathedral or a small %age of the salary of the verger in in the local deanery church and others. It seems that when land was given to the local church in previous centuries, usually to build a school or church, then also there was some commitment to the church hierarchy for the allowing it to happen.

There will probably be some retentions on the land, they get a %age if you sell it at vast profit, you can't turn your house into a "house of ill repute" or a video store??? (always wondered about the video store bit)

Sorry about the length of this diatribe, just make sure your lawyer reads the small print, if it's a standard freehold transfer that should be fine; but look out for all the stuff at the end.

I would get the freehold if you can do it for a sensible price

RMA17/10/2019 07:20:13
241 forum posts
4 photos

In my opinion it's a 'no brainer'. In years to come you'll think it was a bargain, go for it.

Colin Heseltine17/10/2019 08:12:16
394 forum posts
99 photos

I am just going through this process on my 98 year old fathers behalf so we can sell house when required. Lease had 46 years to run Freehold cost £10800 + survey and solicitors fees (plus vat on fees). With such a short lease time left Banks/Building Societies will not give a mortgage.


Neil Wyatt17/10/2019 11:37:19
17702 forum posts
697 photos
77 articles
Nigel McBurney 117/10/2019 17:32:07
694 forum posts
3 photos

Dont haggle just buy the leasehold asap while the offer stands,it could be a bargain in future when it comes to selling,I like many other house buyers would never buy a house with any type of lease,you never know when something nasty climbs out of the woodwork, just ask yourself why would any company buy your lease unless there was profit in it ,and in future you may be paying for that profit.And when buying the lease check the small with your solicitor.

SillyOldDuffer17/10/2019 17:55:37
5607 forum posts
1153 photos

Freehold can also come with strange covenants and conditions. My house deeds state that the pub at the end of the road has the right to discharge sewage across my garden! (The pub is Victorian, built when the area was still fields.) Not too worried because my house is at least a metre higher than the pub and Public Health legislation forbids spraying human effluent about. The minerals rights under the property belong to the Church of England and I'm forbidden from keeping pigs in the house. It's why I had to take up Model Engineering rather than indulge myself in porky pleasures...


Howard Lewis17/10/2019 18:13:32
3132 forum posts
2 photos

Even if it the Church Comissioners, BUY!

Having "owned" and lived in leasehold property, once out of it, I have always gone for freehold. You are then the master of your own destiny, and free from the risk of ground rent being increased, terms and conditions changing etc.

Freehold property usually command s a higher price than the same as a leasehold.


Meunier17/10/2019 19:34:13
307 forum posts
1 photos

Also, if the lease is less than approx 75yrs ( not the case in this example but.. ) then mortgage lenders are more reluctant to lend on the property if you were to sell, which could well have a negative impact on potential buyers.

colin wilkinson17/10/2019 20:26:35
60 forum posts

Bill, Why the question ref Simarc? I have a 900+ year lease with Simarc,£5 every 6 months although there is no possibility of me moving house anyway. Colin

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