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Client Case Studies
Catford (SE6) Leaseholder
Daniel was instructed to assist me with a statutory lease extension claim which completed 24th July 2017. From the outset the matter seemed to be progressing reasonably well until the Landlord solicitor wrote to us stating that my claim was deemed withdrawn as we had not made a county court application in advance of the deadline set by the law as to when the ‘terms of acquisition’ were agreed. This meant that I would have to still pay the landlord’s legal and valuation costs, as well as wait 12 months to start again and pay more for an increased premium.
Daniel informed me that the date the Landlord’s solicitors were using as the date terms were agreed (being the date of that the premium was agreed) was not the correct date for the ‘terms of acquisition’. Due the Landlord’s reluctance to concede, Daniel advised that we make application to the County Court. The Landlord’s solicitor wrote an extensive witness statement relying on a certain case to support their view that my claim was deemed withdrawn. Daniel provided his own extensive witness statement in response citing case law that proved that the terms of acquisition are only agreed when there is unequivocal agreement and that in this case, the surveyors had made their agreement subject to contract. The Landlord’s solicitor then capitulated, and I was able to proceed to complete my lease extension. Although I am not an expert in this field, I strongly believe a lesser experienced solicitor would not have been able to achieve this result.
Beckenham (BR3) Leaseholder
Daniel was instructed to assist me with a lease extension. I had tried reaching an informal arrangement with my Landlord, a large, well known freehold company, to no avail. The issue I faced was my flat and the basement beneath my flat being held on two separate leases, and the Landlord being unwilling to extend the basement lease on reasonable terms as he did not consider the basement a lease that would qualify for a lease extension.
Upon seeking Daniel’s assistance, he advised that under the law, a leaseholder is entitled to extend the lease to his flat, together with any appurtenance belonging to, or usually enjoyed with the flat. We started a statutory claim, and the Landlord gave a counter notice rejecting my entitlement to extend the basement flat. Daniel informed me that if the Landlord rejects and does not apply to the County Court before a particular deadline, then the law treats him as never having served a counter notice at all, and this meant, fortuitously, that I could have both leases extended on the terms contained in my offer notice! The landlord refused and we applied to the County Court and won at trial. The landlord was ordered to grant me both lease extensions as well as pay my costs. This was a great victory that I do not believe would have been possible without someone of Daniel’s level of expertise.
Contract Manager for Leading Social Housing Provider
Daniel was instructed to provide legal assistance regarding a collective enfranchisement claim made over a part of a building owned by the City of Westminster. The lessees making the claim asserted that we were obligated to sell the freehold of the block on unfavourable terms contained within the lessees’ offer notice as a consequence for not having given a Counter Notice in response. The lessees applied to the County Court to seek such an order.
Daniel advised that there was hope and carried out an investigation of the claim, discovering a possibility that the lessee’s claim could be invalid for a number of reasons. Particularly that, a) the part of the building claimed was incapable of separate independent development; b) that non-residential parts potentially comprised more than 25% if the overall floor space, and c) that the offer price given did not meet the requirements of a realistic opening offer. Upon further investigation, it came to light that our strongest argument was the latter, in that the lessees’ offer represented around 10% of the true value of the freehold due to the non-residential car-park area within the building. Daniel indicated that there was case precedent illustrating that an offer had to be made in good faith. This leverage was strong enough to enable us to claim a leaseback for the non-residential areas, which resulted in a saving of approximately £100,000. I have no doubt that Daniel’s expertise in the subject matter played a crucial role in enabling us to achieve this result.