Sold without Notice
Q: I have recently found out our landlord has sold the freehold status of our lodge, and now retain a superior landlord status. What does this mean to us? To me this puts cash in their pocket, also another person has control of the ground rent we pay. We have had no official notice of this change. What is our position in the circumstances?
FPRA Director Shaun O’Sullivan replies:
When a freeholder is proposing to sell his freehold interest, he is required by law to offer the interest to the tenants before offering it on the open market – known as the Right of First Refusal (RFR). Although the majority of disposals will trigger RFR, there are categories of disposal which are exempt and one of these is a disposal to a company which has been associated with the parent company for at least two years.
Without knowing the precise details of the transaction in your case, I suspect that this is the arrangement to which you refer. Although quite legitimate and not terribly unusual, it is seen by some as a device for exploiting a loophole in the 1987 Landlord and Tenant Act by effectively circumventing the requirement to either alert or offer the interest to leaseholders and, as a consequence, keeping the interest within the same group of companies.
[Submitted September 2019]