I am buying a freehold house with two parking spaces. One is under a coach house so I'm getting a 999 years lease for that.

My solicitor affirms we cannot proceed with the purchase because the builder has pre-registered the lease on their name so won't be able to provide the title until the registration is complete (likely to take months).

According to the seller this is the standard procedure and they have sold "hundreds of houses like that".

Who is right?

  • If you're willing, could you buy the house first, and deal with the parking space later? Also, are you buying the house and the lease on the parking space from the same person? – Steve Melnikoff Jan 4 '16 at 16:52
  • I'm buying straight from the builder, who owns the lease. My solicitor mentioned your idea as a possible solution but the seller and the lender would have to agree. But I just want to know who is lying/being incompetent here. – algiogia Jan 4 '16 at 16:54

Likely they both are right.

Your solicitor is stating what he believes to be the correct legal position. He is making sure that if you have to turn to the courts for any reason you are protected.

The builder probably has sold many properties this way. The fact that it may not be strictly legal has never been an issue because there has never been a dispute.

I personally can't see a problem with drafting the contract so that settlement on the leased part is a futures contract, contingent on the registration coming through.

  • Is it something the lender would care about? The solicitor says they won't release the money without a valid title. – algiogia Jan 5 '16 at 8:54
  • I thought that the law was meant to be "free from interpretation". Something cannot be legal for one and illegal for another. – algiogia Jan 5 '16 at 8:56
  • 1
    Laws are always interpreted - that's what courts do. The legality or otherwise of an action only matters if there is a dispute about it - for example, trespass is illegal but that only matters if the land owner cares. – Dale M Jan 5 '16 at 10:25
  • @algiogia: the lender will care if the parking space forms part of the security for the mortgage, as this can only happen if you are the owner (or leaseholder). – Steve Melnikoff Jan 8 '16 at 15:43

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