Landlord or Freeholder – What is the difference between a Landlord and a Freeholder?
These terms are often used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion. The Freeholder is the person or company that owns the freehold of the building, which consists of:
- The land that the building is upon
- If they granted a lease, the building itself after the lease ends
If a freeholder grants a lease, they become a landlord. In turn, the person who takes that lease can grant an underlease to someone else. That makes them a landlord as well, but only to the person taking the underlease.
In most cases of lease extension, there is no underlease involved and the individual referred to as the Landlord is the Freeholder. Where another landlord exists, your solicitor will inform them of your application as a matter of course.
Landlord – Competent Landlord –What is ‘Identifying the Competent Landlord’?
This means you must ensure that you are asking the right person or company for the lease extension.
Your lease might be under another lease that is only a few days or a few years longer than your own. In that case, this party not in a position to grant you the 90 years extension you need unless they have over 90 years remaining on their lease. In most cases, it is the freeholder who is able to grant the extension.
Your solicitor will be able to assist with checking this information and making sure you will be submitting your request to the right party in the correct fashion.
Landlord – Absent Landlord – What do I do if I cannot contact the Landlord?
If your landlord cannot be found after reasonable efforts, you can apply for a vesting order at the county court. As long as the court decides that you are eligible, they will grant you the lease extension. The premium will usually be decided at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
If your landlord is bankrupt or a company in receivership, you would contact the Trustee in Bankruptcy or the Receiver, respectively.
Again, your solicitor will be able to assist.
Vesting order – What is a vesting order?
The court will act as the landlord and will assume their responsibilities in the matter: accepting / rejecting the notice, requesting information and submitting the Counter-Notice, etc. This can be requested at any point until the contract has completed, subject to the timing requirements laid down in the procedure.