Dealing with Absent Landlords

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Property Department

What is an absent landlord?
In cases of absent landlords, the freeholders (or landlords) are not in contact and cannot be
found. This could be due to a breakdown of a previous freehold company, a busy landlord
who has neglected or forgotten their duties to a property, or any number of other situations.
The result is a property that is not being maintained, leaseholders who are left unmanaged
and a lease that is not being monitored.

What does it mean?
Property upkeep
The absence of a landlord means that no one is on hand to police any disputes between
leaseholders, ensure the property is maintained to a good standard, or at least that it doesn’t
fall into disrepair, or deal with any of the legal admin required during changing or extending
the lease.
Purchasing
If you’re looking to purchase the lease on a property with an absent landlord, you may find
that you’ll struggle to convince a mortgage lender to take the risk. Even if you’re a cash
buyer, you might want to think seriously about this as it may have an effect on your resale
when it comes time to leave your property.

How to deal with absent landlords
Firstly – Try and find the landlord
Sometimes in cases of absent landlords, the freeholder of a property isn’t really missing, but
it will take some effort to find them. By checking the electoral roll landlords can sometimes
be found.
Secondly – Speak to our team at Hanne & Co
In cases where a freeholder has died, or gone bankrupt, then we may be able to assist you
in ensuring the executors are dealing with the claims, or serving notice on the trustee in
bankruptcy, or the administrator of the company.

If you are purchasing a property with a short lease then any claim to an extended lease
started by the seller can normally be assigned to the purchaser as part of the conveyancing
process. There is a procedure contained within the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban
Development Act 1993 to be followed where the freeholder is missing (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1993/28/contents). As such you can
take advantage of the statutory rights you would otherwise have had should the freeholder
be around.

Hanne & Co Property team