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    • neilio
    • By neilio 19th Sep 16, 7:13 PM
    • 207Posts
    • 103Thanks
    Selling my flat of 6 years - my Lease has been incorrect the whole time - am I stuck?
    • #1
    • 19th Sep 16, 7:13 PM
    Selling my flat of 6 years - my Lease has been incorrect the whole time - am I stuck? 19th Sep 16 at 7:13 PM
    I'm in the process of selling my flat. I originally bought it under shared ownership six years ago and I staircased to 100% two years ago. My shared ownership Lease was never varied to remove the pre-emption clauses nor remove restrictions from Land Registry titles. This came up in my purchaser's searches, and they are now being addressed. However, a concerning query has come up regarding one of the terms of the Lease, and it is a clause that is not intended to be removed by the Deed of Variation.

    The clause says "That the Leaseholder shall fully carpet all floors of the Premises (save for the kitchen and bathroom, which shall be covered with linoleum or other similar material) with an underlay of suitable quality and shall not lay any laminate or wooden flooring save that this provision shall not apply to ground floor flats."

    My flat has laminate flooring throughout the kitchen/diner, living room and hallway. It was sold to me brand new like this, so it makes no sense that the Lease should imply that I should have taken up all of the laminate flooring and replaced with carpet! My solicitor has asked if the flat has laminate because if it does then it is in breach of the Lease.

    I think I know why it says this in my Lease. When I moved in, there were two standards of flat. The lower spec flats were sold as shared ownership and had lino floors in the kitchen and bathrooms and carpet in the living rooms and bedrooms. The higher spec flats had laminate flooring in the kitchen, living room and hallway, tiled bathroom floors, and carpeted bedrooms. This was at the height of the financial crisis and not all the higher spec full-sale flats could be sold, so they were offered on shared ownership. I took a higher spec flat as shared ownership. I am worried that I have had the incorrect Lease intended for the lower spec flats all this time without realising, because the housing association never produced a new template Lease for the high spec shared ownership flats. It is speculation, but this looks like what has happened.

    It seems ludicrous that I would be expected to rip up the high quality laminate flooring upon moving in to replace with with carpet and lino. It makes no sense at all.

    Could it be I've had an incorrect Lease all this time? What can I possibly do to rectify it?
Page 2
    • neilio
    • By neilio 4th Oct 16, 10:03 AM
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    I don't know many of the other residents. My neighbour next-door works overseas and is never there. The only other person I know recently sold his flat; I did ask him about this but he never had any questions asked about his flooring. I asked if he could send me his Lease to see if it's the same but he never came back to me.
    • Elfbert
    • By Elfbert 4th Oct 16, 12:49 PM
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    • 674 Thanks
    If I haven't been clear already, I'll say it again: it was built with laminate. Which is why it seems crazy that I may now have to go and find some non-existent evidence that it was built with laminate in the first place!

    And I cannot fathom that it is a standard clause in Leasehold flats. That means there are possibly thousands of new build flats and apartments all over the country (what ISN'T built with wood or laminate floors these days?) containing such a clause. It's nonsense.
    Originally posted by neilio
    To be honest, all the new-ish flats I've looked at recently have a Karndean/Amtico type floor in living areas, if they don't have carpets, never laminate. These sorts of vinyl-tile wood effect floors are MUCH quieter than laminate.

    I do understand your frustration though. Our HA forbids laminate flooring, but whenever flats come up for sale which have been fitted with it, they always highlight it as a 'feature' on their website listing! It's a ridiculous situation.
    Mortgage - 68,000 may 2014 45,680.
    • neilio
    • By neilio 4th Oct 16, 12:52 PM
    • 207 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    It is in fact a high quality wood floor; not laminate. Stupidly I have been calling it either laminate or wood interchangeably, but it's definitely a high quality, solid wood. Regardless, the Lease says no wood nor laminate. I resent that the laziness of the housing association once upon a time in copying old Leases without updating them is causing so much hassle now.
    • chelseablue
    • By chelseablue 4th Oct 16, 12:54 PM
    • 2,386 Posts
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    My lease said exactly the same about carpeting throughout except kitchen and bathroom.

    When I sold I did have carpets but loads of people in the block had wood flooring and sold without issues. The lease was written in the 1970's though, don't know if that makes a difference
    Mortgage starting balance 231,000
    Mortgage after Year 1 225,000
    Mortgage after Year 2 218,000
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 4th Oct 16, 4:50 PM
    • 3,550 Posts
    • 3,132 Thanks
    Yes I think you have done the right thing
  • Land Registry
    Not our area but something we have been asked and one other thing may be worth considering, albeit this worked for a Residents' Assoc freeholder and not a HA as you have

    If the freeholder is willing to confirm there were no objections to the type of flooring put in that may satisfy the buyer's solicitor if they apply the same logic as posted

    Just something else to add to the mix but no guarantees. And as others have posted it's all about noise reduction
    Official Company Representative
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    • boliston
    • By boliston 5th Oct 16, 7:11 PM
    • 2,599 Posts
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    I brought my flat as a new build 10 years ago and the lease had the usual "must be carpeted apart from bathroom & kitchen" rule yet the brochure for the development (which I have kept as proof) shows an artists impression of the living room clearly having wood flooring (it was brought off plan). As I had no intention of living in a carpeted flat (hate the things!) I got a written letter from the freeholder granting permission to install a wooden floor.
    • neilio
    • By neilio 5th Oct 16, 7:25 PM
    • 207 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    My solicitor came back with purchaser solicitor comments. Apparently the purchaser solicitor doubts that the reason behind the clause's inclusion is due to sound, which is a nonsense stance to take, and request the clause be removed. So I have agreed to an indemnity policy for just under 300. As expected, my solicitor said that if we were to approach the housing association about this then we wouldn't be able to get the indemnity policy at all. They really get you between a rock and a hard place.
    • neilio
    • By neilio 12th Oct 16, 9:17 AM
    • 207 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    The purchaser solicitor is really digging his heels on this issue by now claiming that if the building was built and lease issued with wooden flooring provided, then (in his opinion) the housing association would not object to the clause being removed. This is despite my solicitor already explaining (at least twice) that the HA is highly unlikely to remove the clause due to all other flats having the same clause in their leases and wanting to retain the right to invoke the clause if there are noise complaints, whilst reminding him that he should be aware that approaching the HA about this subject at all would preclude us from being able to get the indemnity policy if they refuse.

    My further research since starting this thread has concluded that this is a standard clause in leases, as pretty much everyone I know who lives in a modern flat with wooden floor provided has the exact same clause.

    Why would the purchaser solicitor be behaving this way? He has already accepted two other indemnity policies; why not this one?

    If I did approach the HA about this (and this is completely hypothetical as I have no intention of taking this risk) and they do say no, precluding an indemnity policy, then what would be the remaining option aside from ripping up the floor and putting carpet down?
    Last edited by neilio; 12-10-2016 at 9:19 AM.
    • magicpork
    • By magicpork 12th Oct 16, 10:03 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    It seems very odd that a new-build will include a clause like. Laminate or engineered wood, none of them impose a noise-insulation problem these days with modern flats and I can't remember the last time I saw a carpetted living room in a flat.
    • Miss Samantha
    • By Miss Samantha 12th Oct 16, 10:16 AM
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    Miss Samantha
    If the flat was sold to you like that by the developer (freeholder) then there is no breach because you, the leaseholder, did not install laminate at all.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Oct 16, 10:21 AM
    • 7,343 Posts
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    If the flat was sold to you like that by the developer (freeholder) then there is no breach because you, the leaseholder, did not install laminate at all.
    Originally posted by Miss Samantha
    But there's an obligation on the leaseholder to fully carpet it...

    Also just the practical issue of persuading future purchasers etc of what the situation was when the flat was originally built.
    • neilio
    • By neilio 12th Oct 16, 10:30 AM
    • 207 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    Thanks for those responses, but they've pretty much been addressed above. My questions are: What could be motivating the purchaser solicitor to be behaving this way? If the HA rejects the query of removing the clause and therefore prevents from getting the indemnity, then what are the options?
    • molerat
    • By molerat 12th Oct 16, 10:39 AM
    • 18,364 Posts
    • 12,532 Thanks
    Thanks for those responses, but they've pretty much been addressed above. My questions are: What could be motivating the purchaser solicitor to be behaving this way? covering his own backside so nothing can come back and bite him in it later.If the HA rejects the query of removing the clause and therefore prevents from getting the indemnity, then what are the options?you already know the answer to that one - if the other party won't budge you will have to rip it up and carpet
    Originally posted by neilio
    You need to get the buyer on side and instruct their solicitor in what they want done. Solicitors look after themselves, my son has just got 500 from their conveyancing solicitor for messing up, cheaper than an SRA complaint.
    Last edited by molerat; 12-10-2016 at 10:42 AM.
    • Boler1985
    • By Boler1985 12th Oct 16, 7:51 PM
    • 169 Posts
    • 91 Thanks
    just tell the solicitor that you're selling the flat with flooring "as is" and if the buyer wants to carpet to comply with the lease then that's up to them.

    Also my flat has the same clause and I think it's very sensible and reasonable approach albeit that mine is a old Victorian conversion with little sound insulation.

    Your lease isn't 'wrong' you/your solicitor just failed to check it and follow the requirements.
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