Question: I bought a leasehold maisonette a few years ago and I knew the title deeds did not include the front garden. However, the garden has been fenced, presumably since the Thirties when the property was built. I rent out the maisonette and my tenants have always maintained the garden. I discovered the freeholder was trying to sell the front garden for off-street parking a while ago. I spoke to the estate agent, who refused to divulge the name of the freeholder's solicitors. Can the freeholder, who has never spoken to me about this, just demolish the front wall to use the garden for parking?
Answer: First speak to the agents to establish the current position regarding the proposed sale. If the reply is unsatisfactory, contact the freeholder directly to find out their true intentions. Also, consider the terms of your lease. You may have an exclusive right to use the front garden, and there may be covenants stating it can be used only as a private garden.
A search of the index map at the Land Registry will show whether the title to the garden is registered, and who is the registered proprietor. If the garden is not registered, ask the freeholder to show you their title deeds to prove they own it. To demolish a wall and construct a parking space, planning permission and building regulations approval are likely to be required, and if it is necessary to drop the kerb for access from the road, the highways authority will need to be involved and approve the works.
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