Thirsk Winton LLP

Landlord portfolio management

We act for a number of property investors, each with a portfolio of freehold/leasehold investments requiring a diverse range of legal services. The types of instructions we are typically asked to deal with include:

  • Negotiated lease extensions
  • Statutory lease extensions where we are required to respond to s.42 notices
  • Statutory freehold acquisitions where we are required to respond to s.13 notices
  • Serving notice under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 in freehold disposals (“the right of first refusal”)
  • Responding to LPE standard enquiries on behalf of freeholders and management companies
  • Responding to notices served on freeholders and management companies by leaseholders
  • Responding to “right to manage” applications made by leaseholders

Block of flatsOur services in this area are diverse: we are able to assist investor clients in a wide range of areas. There are a vast number of different day-to-day issues likely to arise when running a portfolio of freehold/leasehold investments. Not only are we well-placed to advise and assist on these, but we also take pride in offering strategic advice to help our clients reach their long term goals. This can include:

  • Lease re-structuring
  • Transfers to corporate investment vehicles
  • Advising on auction disposals

Here are a selection of issues we are frequently asked to assist with:

I own a freehold ground rent investment and I have been served with a Section 42 notice. Can i just ignore it?

You must take immediate action, since there are strict time limits in responding to such a notice. You might lose valuable rights by failing to respond in time. Send us a copy of the notice you have received and we will advise you what needs to be done next.

I am a managing agent. The management company I look after has recently acquired the freehold of the block and the leaseholders are all asking about extending their leases. What can I tell them?

We can help by setting up a group scheme of lease extensions. We will prepare documentation in a consistent form to be used in each case, consider issues of dual-representation (subject to our professional rules) and deal with existing mortgages on the flats which will need to transferred to the new leasehold titles.

I am looking to sell my freehold ground rent investments at auction. Can I just ring the auctioneers and ask them to list them?

There are a few different concerns here. First, the auctioneers will be looking for a comprehensive legal pack, with a bespoke set of contract conditions and supporting documentation. This will be offered to any interested potential bidder in advance of the auction. We have plenty of experience in putting these together, often at very short notice. You will also need to consider the impact of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which gives leaseholders “the right of first refusal”. You may be obliged to offer the freehold to the leaseholders, on the same terms you achieve with the winning bidder at the auction, in preference to that winning bidder. There are strict requirements as to the serving of notice, and failure to comply can constitute a criminal offence. You should contact us well in advance of the intended auction disposal, to allow sufficient time to address these important obligations.