Question regarding freeholder's rights


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Jun 24, 2008
I've tried to look this up but I can't find exactly the answer I'm looking for, so I'm hoping that one of you clever lot on here have any ideas. It's about Mrs Smelly over the road. Like us she's the joint freeholder in her property, she occupies the basement and ground floor, and the two floors upstairs are owned by a guy who rents it out. As you may know, she's allowed her property to descend into rack and ruin. eg there's a hole in one of her ceilings on the ground floor, a parasitic plant in the garden causing God knows what problems to the fabric of the building. He has recently had replacement windows put in upstairs, replaced the carpet in the communal hallway, painted his front door and the main front door. Mrs Smelly thinks that perhaps he's planning to sell as opposed to just doing the place up for his tennants..she reckons he's a "twat" but then that's her stock phrase for most people tbh! Again as we all know, she is living in stinking squalor and refuses any help, and refuses to spend any money to get repairs done. Her nextdoor neighbour has filed a complaint to the council regarding the state of her garden, re smell, vermin and dripping water, and whilst this has led to social services becoming involved..not much has changed.
My heart is breaking for the fella who owns the upstairs part of the building (twat or not) as he'll have a ****** job selling his property for the going rate with that hazardous monstrosity underneath. He must know she's got problems and would be able to smell the corridor and see the state of the garden from upstairs..but would not know the extent of the problems inside. As a joint freeholder does he have any rights to insist that she doesn't undermine the building from the bottom. I'm guessing it depends upon whether they have any kind of agreement when it comes to repairs. With our joint freehold we share buildings insurance, repairs and decoration to the outside of the property, communal hallway, guttering, roof repairs etc...but cosmetic stuff like windows and doors we're on our own.
My question would be that if the state of the inside of her place is undermining the safety of the other, what can he do? It's a lot more difficult to prove, I guess when the offending flat is downstairs, eg, water isn't going to drip down . I'm guessing all he can do is see if he can sell the property, if that's what he intends to do, and for the price he wants and then if he gets problems he'll have to take her to court. I worry about the tenants who live upstairs as she drinks and smokes and the place is a complete fire hazard. I bet the guy wishes he could just remove his part of the building and put it somewhere else, or better still not own a property directly on top of a hoarders house!
Yes, obvs this matter is not my business so I wouldn't contact them myself but I'm guessing that the guy who owns upstairs will be exploring every avenue possible. It'll be a long slow game, and things could pootle along the way it is at the moment for months..but at some stage the sh1t will hit the fan. I was just interested really to see if anyone has any insight into this situation. Most of all it upsets me to know she's putting other people's lives in danger, and I do pity the guy who owns upstairs as its affecting his livliehood. It's all very well owning a nice, well kept flat, but if it's perched ontop of all manner of structural problems and filth it's really not good!
If they each own a share of the freehold, they each also have a lease which should outline any obligations to pay towards the upkeep of the whole building etc.

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Thanks for that...It turns out that new tenants have moved into the upstairs flat and the lick of paint in the communal hallway and general doing up of the place has done the landlord ok, so things will poodle along as they always have done. Don't get me wrong, I don't wish any harm on my smelly friend, but it does worry me that the tenants upstairs are living on top of a ticking time bomb! The owner of the upstairs flat I guess has put his blinkers on and just so long as he can make a income from his part of the building, he's all good. I'm guessing as she's told me that the "twat" has a lot of other properties that he's quite well off so it would be no great shakes if he had to sell his flat for a song. I just hope though that nothing bad happens 'cause I most certainly wouldn't want to live over that lot...I suppose the owner doesn't have to, so he doesn't care as long as the money's coming in!

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