Residents at a Bournemouth block of flats are celebrating a victory over their landlord. The Flat owners have completed the compulsory purchase of their freehold from their landlord but only after a hard fought battle before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
Their freeholder, the Cooper Dean Estate, elected to retain the freehold of the communal grounds at Dorset House in Dean Park, and only sell the leaseholders the freehold of their buildings.
Andrew Howard, a partner with Coles Miller Solicitors, acting for the leaseholders, commented that the legislation enables freeholders to do this but only if they offer rights over the grounds equivalent to those contained in the leases.
"In this particular case", said Andrew, "we believed the rights the freeholders were offering were a considerable dilution of the existing rights". The matter was referred to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal who determined that the rights offered were not equivalent to those already enjoyed by the leaseholders. In consequence, the Tribunal decided that the leaseholders of Dorset House were entitled to the freehold of the grounds.
Speaking after the case, Andrew Howard said "This was a significant victory for the leaseholders against one of the major landlords in Bournemouth which will have significant repercussions for other local leaseholders. The residents will benefit from the decision in the future because it will have ensured the future marketability of their flats and enhanced their value".