We are trying to enforce a sale under s.103 of an unregistered leasehold property for which the leaseholder has no title deeds and of which we are the freeholder.
The property is mixed use although the condition of it means that it is uninhabitable and has been for a considerable length of time.
Notices have been served on the gentleman who we believe to be the owner (and also a more general notice to ‘the owner’ has been served at the property). We have never received any notices of the assignments of the lease (in breach of the tenant's obligations within the lease) and, despite some of these assignments having taken place post compulsory registration, the leasehold title has never been registered. The property has passed through family members and all previous ‘owners’ have now passed away (without probate being granted) – but there was never any proof of their ownership either (except for the missing title deeds).
In ordinary circumstances, we would be in a position to proceed with registering the necessary charges and proceeding to the sale but, in this case, there is going to be an issue with any new owner registering their purchase with the Land Registry.
The only document we have is a copy of the 999 year lease granted in 1897 but there are no copies of any assignments of that lease through to the current owner so we are therefore unable to even establish his ownership.
The owner is not cooperative with us and will not assist with getting the title registered as he does not want it to be sold. As he has never resided at the property, there is little documentary proof of his ownership and the neighbours would be unable to identify him as ‘the owner’.
Does anyone have any advice on how this situation could be resolved?
Thank you in advance - all suggestions would be gratefully received.
Housing Practitioner - Sefton Council