View Full Version : First Refusal offer.

19-08-2006, 09:33 AM
Hello any advice on this matter would be greatlyappreciated.

We have recently received a notice pursuant to Section 5 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.

As we understand it is an offer under the "First Refusal" laws.

The current owners purchased our building last yr.

One of the conditions as we understand for their purchase was to buy the building with the AST's flats vacant, which the old owner did.

This in turn left just rent act tenants and us an assured tennant in the building.

Since buying the building the new owners have left the AST's flats vacant, with of course just leaves us and the remaining rent act tenants.

Now the Owners have decided to sell, and because only rent act tennants remain we assume that is why they consider we have the right under the above act first mentioned for first refusal.

We have only recently found out that infact we are rent Act tenants and not assured tenants.
We have also been informed that we in fact should have therefore been given the right to buy under "first refusal" as way back as 1995 .

We have been informed that buy us being rent act tenants that that would have made more than 50% of the residents rent act tenants.


Is this first refusal offer unlawful ???
And if so what steps do we take??? Injunction perhaps ??? or some other avenue???

l know what some of you will say, and believe me l am not saying its wrong advice. "Get legal advice"
Our current solicitor barely new what "First Refusal" meant when we went to see him, and at the moment he says he really does not know what step to take next.
Our funding certificate has recently expired so he tell us at the moment he cannot get any advice from counsel on this matter of which he says he would like.
We re applied for funding but it was turned down because of some calculations error.
There is not much time left as the 2 month period for us to reply to the first refusal offer will expire soon.

Any advice from you guys/gals as always very welcome.



19-08-2006, 09:42 AM
If you think you want to buy you should research and hire a new solicitor who is conversant with this area of the law.

If you don't want to buy then don't.

19-08-2006, 09:44 AM
Agree with Poppy...this is a fairly specialist area. IF you are interested in buying then hire a SPECIALIST solicitor in this area. If you are not interested, then why worry? You will not get much in the way of useful information from this site on this matter I'm afraid.

19-08-2006, 10:18 AM
thanks for reply.

trust me we have been trying. Its has not been that easy getting advice on this subject.
While our funding cokup is hopefully gonna be sorted out soon we are still worried that 2 month period will run ref "first refusal offer".

We have no intention of buying the property as offered currently.
we're talking a couple of million here.

But if we were rent act tenants when the building was sold in 95 and at that time over 50% of the residents would of therefore also been , then surely there was a breach of first refusal then.

sorry l'm not making things very clear here.

we think the building was sold for 1 million back in 95, and now the new owners have it on offer at 2 and a half million.

l think that is why it may matter a bit on weither the sale goes through or not.

In theory could we buy the building at 95 price and then sell it at todays price if it is proved our rights to buy in 95 were broken ?????????

if there was a breach in 95 which by us being recorgnised as rent act tenants now. we think sure does. Then how does that effect this new offer???

l mentioned to our solicitor about a possible injunction we could take out to stop this current offer, { this idea from member here } and he just says he does not know what to do next unless he gets funding to speak to counsel.



19-08-2006, 10:27 AM
First of all, as I have said you will not get anything close to accurate advice on here so theres no point in asking follow up questions! But, I would be amazed if, even if a breach is shown(which I think you may have a certain time to do so, which I suspect will have well expired), you would be able to "buy" the property for the 95 price...the law simply won't work that way. In my opinion, it is that far gone, and seeing as though you are not interested in buying the property anyway, you are better off just leaving it. Although I am far from an expert, or even a novice, in this area, fromn my limited knowledge I cannot see you having a case worth the hassle of fighting.

19-08-2006, 10:54 AM
thanks for reply.

l was told recently that if a breach of our right to first refusal had been/ can be shown to have been broken in 95 by the then Landlords, that it is a criminal offence that had been comitted by them.

And based on that the new owners would in fact not own the building, meaning they would have to give up ownership, and that we would automatically have the right to buy the property under statute law at the 1995 price.

l am still not sure how this would effect this "First Refusal" offer put to us now, but our solicitor does just keep saying he won't do anything regardless of going past the 2 month time to reply to the current landlords First refusal offer until he has the funding to get advice from counsel.

l think by doing nothing it will at best complicate and delay any action we can take in future.

any advice welcome


19-08-2006, 10:59 AM
I must apologise...it would seem that you may be correct. The new owner may be forced to sell the property at the price he paid. Did the new landlord ever serve you with a Section 3 notice(telling you the new name and address etc) after acquiring the property? Have you discussed this matter with the other rent act tenants in the building?

A link which may be useful:


However, as bad news, you only have 6 months to do this. You are clearly well well out of this time period. Your only recourse now may be if the new landlord failed to serve a S3 notice.

*EDIT* but, as the property was a RFA(right to first refusal) property, you also needed to receive a S3A notice, which as they were not aware it was an RFA property, you probably have not received. You really do need to retain the services of a specialist solicitor for this. Although the typical method of notification of the transfer is an S3A notice(and you have 6 months from the date of notification to apply), a court will clearly see that you were fully aware of the transfer, whether it was served as a notice or not. It is a complex situation indeed!

19-08-2006, 11:12 AM
I don't understand. You (and your tenant buddies) want to buy a property for £1million but you do not have the money to finance the buying process. Is that what you're saying?

19-08-2006, 11:22 AM
l can't begin to explain how many twists and turns over the yrs here.

the current owners never served any R3 notices or anything on us or the other tenants when they bought the building last yr.

This may interest you:
we were in dispute over dis repairs and ourselves claiming we were infact rent act tenants and not assured with the previous landlord befor he sold the building to current owners.

Now the current owners say that they were not aware of any dispute between us and the previous landlords.

l read what you just posted and thanks alot, but what about this "buyers beware" saying ???????
weither they knew or not we were rent act tenents or not l thought didnt matter.
The fact is we only became aware recently that we are rent act tenants.

does'nt same apply to 95 sale and owners then ????? surely its upto them to be fully aware of the tenancy status of the teneants when buying and selling a building.

from what you have typed, do you really think they have an arguement for saying we were unaware as they themself the tenants were at the time to what type of tenancy they actuallt had ????


19-08-2006, 11:36 AM

We think we may have the right to buy our building from sale in 1995.{sold 1 million}

we are being offered now under first refusal at 2 and a half million.

now if there was a breach of first refusal in 95 l think that the current owners may not infact own the property and that they would have to go back sueing previous owners over that matter.

l think we might be able to buy building today at 1995 price and then of course sell it tomorrow at huge profit.
of course if this is all right we would get companies knocking down our door to loan us the money, as huge amount to be made by all.

But by what Mr Shed has just posted l am now not sure, as he mentions time periods and stuff, which all worries me.

thanks Charles

19-08-2006, 12:55 PM
Mr Shed,

that 6 month time period you mention, does that have an relevence to our matter ????
l'm thinking not as a few people have mentioned us being able to legally purchase our biulding at 95 price.
And of course this ie way beyond 6 months ago.
Not sure about any of this at all.
And last couple of solcictors we have had can barely remember our names let alone any details from past acts that may be relevent.

l know you right saying get specialist help, but not as easy as said sometimes.
None of the people we have talked to "Specialists" do legal aid.

But this solicitor we are using at mo has gone into it a bit, he says "its so bloody complicated" that he really does not know where to begin without advice from counsel.

just fingers crossed so much now that we will get our legal aid certificate back again after this blunder with the legal services commision.


19-08-2006, 23:00 PM
If you read that link I posted it states the 6 month time period, which definitely DOES apply to your matter.

The question is whether it does not apply because you have not received an S3A notice. This is something only a court will be able to decide I'm afraid.

20-08-2006, 12:03 PM
of course if this is all right we would get companies knocking down our door to loan us the money, as huge amount to be made by all.

And I am not so sure where you get this idea from....companies are not all of a sudden going to break their lending rules based upon a vague promise from you of selling the property after purchasing. Your best bet would be a private investor, but this is going to cost you a good chunk of your profit for him/her to put the money in, if you can even find one.

From what I have read, my conclusion is that it is certainly worth going for, IF you can find someone IN ADVANCE who is willing to put the money up. If you cannot find anyone willing to put the money up then there is little point in wasting time and money pursuing legal battles. You probably wont win, in my opinion, but only a court would probably be able to give you a definitive answer.

20-08-2006, 14:23 PM
There was no S3A notice ever served on sale of building in 95 or subsequent sales right upto this first refusal offer now by new owners.

l think l get what your saying.
do you mean that even if it is proven that a breach of the first refusal act was broken in 95 that we might not gain anything out of all this ???

very interesting what you said about getting loan should we ever have the right to buy our building at 95 price.



20-08-2006, 14:52 PM
That is what I am saying. Basically, the standard method of notification of transfer of the property, in this situation, is a S3A. So, you have 6 months from the issue of the S3A to complain about the lack of first refusal. So on this criteria, you have never received it, and so can still complain. However, in my opinion there is a fairly good chance that the court will take it as being 6 months from the date you knew about the transfer, and there is no doubt that you did know about the transfer, with or without the S3A. You with me? It depends on what the court thinks.

With the loan thing, imagine myself for example seeing a business for sale for 1 million. I can see that the business is massively underperforming, and could make it double its profits in a matter of weeks/months, making the business value at least double. Still no bank in a million years is going to lend me 1 mil! You get my point? HOWEVER, I may be able to persuade a rich friend to lend me 1 mil. Irrespective of the potential returns, if you would not have qualified for a 1 million pound loan anyway, no loan company or bank will lend you the money. That is not to say that you cannot get the money.

20-08-2006, 16:25 PM
we have still not been recorgnised as being rent act tenants by the newish owners who have had the property now for a yr.

now they have made this first refusal offer

we had argued with the previous owner about six months before he sold the building to the present owners that we are in fact rent act tenants.

surely the clock only starts ticking when in fact we became aware/dicovered actually how protected we are.

as soon as we found out that we might be rent act tennants we informed the then Owners.

do you think that if we were legally able to buy the property at 95 price of 1 million that is today valued at 2 and a half million nobody would be interested in giving us a mortagage or loan based on us then agreeing to come to some arrangment in sharing the profits over what would be a huge windfall of cash almost immediately ?????


20-08-2006, 17:09 PM
sorry just read through your stuff again Shed.

yes the present owners did tell us that they are the new owners on buying the building last yr, and that we should now strt paying our rent to them.

We only became aware of our tenancy status from an opinion of an expert in Jan of this yr.
The current owners have ignored letters of us stating we are rent act tenants and not accepted this to this date.

if our tenancy status has to be decided by a judge we are pretty damn confident of proving that to him.

The previous owners we think have obvuisly not disclosed our full history to following owners all the way snow balling upto the present owners.

and now that we recently became aware of how protected we are, we have been told that it looks like our rights of first refusal were breached as far back as the sale of the building in 95.

l'm still unclear as to this 6 month time limit you mention.

l think we have done everything in step by informing the new owners as soon as they bought the building that we consider ourselves rent act tenants, as we did previously with the owner before.

he by the way never replied to our letters stating that we considered oursleves rent act tenants and within 6 months he then sold the building.


20-08-2006, 18:29 PM
sorry just read through your stuff again Shed.

yes the present owners did tell us that they are the new owners on buying the building last yr, and that we should now strt paying our rent to them.

We only became aware of our tenancy status from an opinion of an expert in Jan of this yr.

The previous owners we think have obvuisly not disclosed our full history to following owners all the way snow balling upto the present owners.

and now that we recently became aware of how protected we are, we have been told that it looks like our rights of first refusal were breached as far back as the sale of the building in 95.

l'm still unclear as to this 6 month time limit you mention.

l think we have done everything in step by informing the new owners as soon as they bought the building that we consider ourselves rent act tenants, as we did previously with the owner before.

he by the way never replied to our letters stating that we considered oursleves rent act tenants and within 6 months he then sold the building.


Charles: The Limation Act(1984) limits you to a claim going back 6 years.I tend to agree with Mr Shed here, your chances of getting judgement are very slim.As a Rent Act(1977) tenant do you still have the original tenancy agreement(if not you are well and truly stuffed) as that is one of the most important points a judge will look over and how case law has been interpratated.

20-08-2006, 18:59 PM
No we don't have any tenancy agreement.
But we can prove we payed rent before Jan 89 which we are told is proof enough to be recorgnised as rent act tenents.

As far as l know if we can prove there was a breach of our first refusal rights in 95, thats a criminal offence.
so would that 6 yr period you just mentioned be relevent to us ?????


20-08-2006, 19:34 PM
just had a quick look at the limation act, there seems to be different periods for different things, even a 15yr period.

pls correct me on any of this though.

as we were told the sale in 95 could be a criminal offence against us, and we have only discovered all this fairly recently

The way l'm looking at it, and pls pls correct me again if you think otherwise, is that the current owners have in fact broken the law whether they knew it or not due to previous owners information. "buyers beware"

am l right in thinking if we can prove a breach of first refusal law broken in 95 then under statute law the current owners would have to give up ownership immediately ?????


20-08-2006, 22:57 PM
No....and I am not going to give the reasons again, I have already stated that in the piece of legislation involved there is a 6 month time limit!!! Charles we are all perfectly willing to help you. But asking basically the same question time and again is not going to make the answer the one you want to hear I am afraid!

20-08-2006, 23:47 PM
Mr Shed If you read my last post you'll see l'm questioning your answer only.
Apology about repeating anything else.

As far as l know with regards to a criminal offence being committed { breach of first refusal} there is no set period of time in which that offence would then expire.

Surely then if it is proven that our right of first refusal was breached back in 95, every subsequent sale from that date is ilegal.

Would you go along with that ?????

l tried to explain that we have only recently Discovered/ been made aware of our tenancy status.
And l think you'll agree that in law the term "Discovery" has very important meanings especially to time periods.
l have looked at the first refusal act and still cannot see how the 6 month time period is relevent to our matter.

We did as l said before write to the new { now owners} when they bought the building last year stating that we considered ourselves rent act tenants.
This is well within a 6 month period.

Of course not the 6 month period "meaning" you are talking about, right ?????

As l understand the important time periods with regards to our matter only really started when we were made aware/discovered our status and full legal rights.

Would be grateful if you could explain how the 6 month time period apply's to us which you mentioned before but did not go into any detail over.

Thanks for your time and opinions once again.


20-08-2006, 23:57 PM
l would like to add that knowing about the sale and knowing about the first refusal is two totally different issue's.

We never knew anything let alone ever heard of the term "First Refusal" when our current landlords bought the building .
All this knowledge regarding first refusal we only recently became aware of.



21-08-2006, 06:48 AM
l would like to add that knowing about the sale and knowing about the first refusal is two totally different issue's.

Yes they are, and when you found out about the first refusal is *possibly* irrelevant. That is essentially the same point as me saying about the S3A notice. But it would be up to the court.

21-08-2006, 09:53 AM
l apologise for the way l have explained things here, seems so clear to me, but then again we have had all this on our minds for some time now.

nearly everyone we have spoken to tells us this is seriously complicated stuff.

one chap told us though in his opinion it is a clear breach of statute law and therefore we should whistle through all this.

now l'm thinking he's either a very positive guy or maybe wrong.

but l am realizing from the more people l talk to about all this that the more complex it seems to get.

Not sure what to do if our funding appeal application is turned down.
As we are told a hell of alot at stake here for both us and current/previous owners.



21-08-2006, 10:21 AM

Is a section 3 notice a special legal form ???
or is it the new owners writing to you on their own headed paper telling you that they are the new Owners of the property and so on...

would the fact that the tenants in our building at the time of the sale in 95 not being aware that the majority of them were rent act tenants , therefore go in our favour before a Judge do you think ????

all this would ultimately be the Landlords fault in 95, and then therefore all subsequent owners would have then purchased our building ilegally under statute law { not offering us the right of first refusal} { of course without their knowledge} there after.

do you think l'm right in thinking down these lines ???



21-08-2006, 12:32 PM

Is a section 3 notice a special legal form ???
or is it the new owners writing to you on their own headed paper telling you that they are the new Owners of the property and so on...

No. A Section 3 notice is only a notice to inform the tenant that the property has been aquired/changed ownership giving the new landlords address

would the fact that the tenants in our building at the time of the sale in 95 not being aware that the majority of them were rent act tenants , therefore go in our favour before a Judge do you think ????

If you read Mr Shed's link again there is a section "qualifying tenants" and exclusions it makes no mention of a Rent Act tenancy

all this would ultimately be the Landlords fault in 95, and then therefore all subsequent owners would have then purchased our building ilegally under statute law { not offering us the right of first refusal} { of course without their knowledge} there after.

Although there is some fault on the side of the Landlord here you are limited to how far you can go back and both myself and Mr Shed have pointed that out to you.

do you think l'm right in thinking down these lines ???

Yes and No.I noted that when there is a change of Landlord you must have got some notification to who you were going to pay your rent to.

21-08-2006, 15:12 PM
Thanks for advice PMS.

"If you read Mr Shed's link again there is a section "qualifying tenants" and exclusions it makes no mention of a Rent Act tenancy"

Not sure what you mean by that above statement PMS.

Are you agreeing with what l said about majority of rent act tenants {regulated} not being aware that they were a majority of the residents at the time, therfore being entitled to first refusal on sale of building???

PMS you think we are limited on the time we can go back?
and that the Landlord is at "some fault" ?

Could it be seen that the Fault/action of the Landlord is a breach of statute law which according to the the First refusal act is a serious criminal offence.

And as l said before surely there is no time restraint {limit} with reference to bringing to court criminal proceedings, especially if clear evidence of Breach has come to light recently.

To me it is like saying because someone comitted a criminal offence over and beyond a certain time period, that they then become exempt from prosecution.

surely this can't be so.



22-08-2006, 12:43 PM
anymore advice on this matter would be greatfully received.

still confused as hell on the whole damn thing.



22-08-2006, 17:40 PM
I suggest everyone reads the SAVVA case in the CA 2005... Even the LVT had over looked it.

22-08-2006, 18:11 PM

sorry l don't understand what you mean.


22-08-2006, 18:27 PM
l found it Mark, cheers and thanks for your time, very interesting stuff on First Refusal.


22-08-2006, 21:27 PM
I suggest everyone reads the SAVVA case in the CA 2005... Even the LVT had over looked it.

I read this piece of case law last year and I was surprised that although the appeal was allowed it was still refered back to the leasehold valuation tribuniual.I'm sure though that there is a recent case where the decision was overturned.May well be looking into it in the coming days

22-08-2006, 22:55 PM
pms,Mrshed, mark,

can any of you guys spot any case law that might be relevent to our history????

the bits l have looked at on the baillii site all refer to the present owners in dispute with tennants over immediate previous sale of building.

could we in theory take the same action against present ownership of the building due to not the previous owners fault, butthe 4 th previous owner before the present.

l know MrShed and pms have advised me that this would be all unlikely because of a 6 yr time period.

but l'm still thinking as it would be a criminal offence that the 4th previous landlord comitted by not giving us the right to buy back in 95, then therfore this 6 yr time limited possible would not apply.

any views on this extremely welocome.


22-08-2006, 23:22 PM
[QUOTE=pms;21343]I read this piece of case law last year and I was surprised that although the appeal was allowed it was still refered back to the leasehold valuation tribuniual.I'm sure though that there is a recent case where the decision was overturned.May well be looking into it in the coming days

I think the back referral is because the courts decide whether the right exists and the LVT (desperate for work maybe) decides the 'terms' as suggested in the '87 L &T Act
I hope that hasn't been overturned as that would mean a case in the House of Lords wouldn't it? And I'm about to use it myself
[I do wish somebody would tell me what previous premiums for rent protection have been :o( )

Charles the statute clearly says that if there was a breach by a landlord with section 5 non issue then subsequent sales to landlords make no difference until someone tells you of your rights.

23-08-2006, 11:54 AM
cheers alot Mark for info.

thats what we think also here.

apology to everyone for not being able to word my questions and thoughts more clearly.

l must correct something l said earlier.

we have in fact never been served ever by any previous landlord a Section 3A notice. { apology as thought such a notice was merely a paper telling us who the new owners just were}



23-08-2006, 12:35 PM
Charles10 if you are looking to challenge the landlord etc. you will need the help of a solicitor at the end of the day so it might be a good idea to consult one now to actually find out what you can do.

The information you'll get on a forum, no matter the good intentions etc., won't be as well informed as from a specialist solicitor.
When you are talking about that kind of money it would be well advised to see one.

23-08-2006, 15:12 PM
Yes I agree advice from a 'specialist solicitor' will be the way to go...
But with caveats:
Who are the specialists?
How current is their knowledge?
Even the LVT has got this part of the law wrongly stated eg:
"time starts to run from tenants awareness of transfer"

I don't suppose that there are many income based investments where the new owner doesn't want the subscriber to pay him[her] rather than the previous owner:eek: What's the point in section 5's and section 18's if 'just selling' circumnavigates the whole lot? It's not a car being sold :-)

The purpose of the statutes 85/88 is to give the tenant new rights and as LJCarnforth emphasised; the knowledge of the right so that the tenant has a choice. '93 96 & 2002' helps a little...

24-08-2006, 09:47 AM
Thanks, yes Jennifer l think in perfect situation you are dead right, unfortunately though have had bad advice from previous last 2 high street solicitors who said they could easilly help, but as so often the case turns out they knew very little on the subject or either they have not spent much time looking into these acts and advised us wrongly causing yet more delays and making things even more complex.
For example our current solicitor l myself had to explain to him exactly what a "Regulated tennacy" meant when we first visited him.

Thankfully he's alittle more upto speed now on the matter although as said previously in a perfect world l would be paying privately and getting expert advice from an expert in this field.

Tried also visiting Solicitors of an older age also who generally have a better understanding of Rent act tennacy stuff and so on...
but sadly in our area unable to find.

Also you guys have been a hell of alot more informed on advice you give out than l think some of you take credit for.

not of course that l'm in any positon to judge on this complicated subject.
but l'm sure some of you will agree once you get into a matter like this its amazing how much knowledge you can pick up by listening to lots of opinions.

Especially big thankyou to Mark on the advice you have given to me.

And pls if anyone know's of a specialist firm or person they think would be maybe willing to take a look at our matter within the scope of public funding we'd be so grateful for any contact details.



24-08-2006, 10:11 AM
Contact PainSmith solicitors...they may be able to help. They have an advert on this site. Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

24-08-2006, 11:27 AM
Thanks Mrshed for helpful advice.


25-08-2006, 09:57 AM
l contacted PainSmith, sadly they don't do any public legal funding.

l think this is pretty much the same across the board regarding these specialist firms.

As our case so complex we are told it would at best cost an arm and a leg to get to court, and then probably a hell of alot more.

Such a shame as our solicitor we had on our public funding cert before it was closed recently said as we have always known, "there is a clear breach of your first refusal rights" and that he's confident we would win.

yesssssss!!!! l did ask him would he consider taking on our case "No win no fee" he merely said "Sorry not our company Policy" and that because of the complexity he thinks his bosses would go bonkers at his firm intially having to put up so much money to just get to court stage.
We are up against a Landlord who is a PLC company and for that reason alone he say's just looking at our legal aid certificate already being gobbled up by their time wasting and stalling tactics he says this would just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of costs and leagl fee's.

Anyway back down to law centre again, to explain to them what's the difference between AST's and Rent Act Tenants.

Just as a last resort does anyone think its worth a try us emailing brief email to some of these Specialists firms our case history upto now ????
Do you think any of them would entertain the thought of a "No win no fee" ?
l think not, but maybe one of you has heard of a firm that has took on cases on this basis in the past.

May the force be with us.



25-08-2006, 17:10 PM
Painsmith will give a brief opinion on the case if you email them the details, for free. However, for this kind of case I'd be very surprised if you got a no win no fee lawyer. Try and establish your chances of winning, and then decide whether it is worth trying to find funding for a lawyer.

25-08-2006, 17:46 PM
As far as emailing a few specialist law firms is concerned, there is, of course, no harm in doing so - you may strike lucky.

BUT (and I hate to be negative here) there is an additional point that you may not have been made aware of : legal aid or no legal aid. No win, no fee or not - even if this case got to court, if you LOSE then you would, in all probability, be liable for the other side's costs, which after all their delaying tactcs, are likely to be considerable. and I don't mean just £1 or £2k!!

If you lost, would you have the money to pay for this???

In any event, be prepared that this type of case is likley to darg on for many, many months (maybe even a couple of years) before it even gets to court and I'm just also wondering whether all the stress will be worth it in the meantime.

I'm not advising that you proceed or withdraw but I do feel you should go into it knowing ALL the possible outcomes .. When I am faced with something like this, I always look at the worst way outcome and base my judgment on that.

25-08-2006, 18:05 PM
Thanks Pippay and MrShed.

yep so so upset we all are here, it seems we now earn to much money to qualify for public funding. We just filled in our re-assessment LSF form and it was turned down for that reason.
We have got a counsels opinion l must remind you though that the disrepair issue we also have in our home has a "good prospect of success at 60%-50%" those his words in his paper.

it was actually under the disrepair cert that we found out from the barrister about our real tenancy status and the fact that we were probably denied the right of first refusal yrs back.

at present l'm full time caring for both parents but will look at getting some night time work as even our current solicitor reckons it would be such a shame to drop eveything now.

l think to be honest he was just looking forward to going head to head with our landlords { big big biggg PLC }

anyway thanks as always for your support.

thanks Charles

25-08-2006, 20:40 PM
If you're very lucky, you might find someone to do this pro bono (http://lawworks.org.uk/)

25-08-2006, 22:47 PM
Thankyou very much RichieP,

l really had no idea any such organisation existed.

after all the work and effort over the past 18 months still finding it hard to believe unless we can get the funding this landlord will get away with not only the first refusal stuff but also disrepair which is so blatently obvious to prove.
just wished our solicitor now concentrated on the disrepair earlier this yr instead of the barristers opinion on the first refusal and our tenancy status.

but l think l do understand that he was just looking at the bigger picture and looking at getting us the best deal out of all this.

bad timing l suppose.

anyway thanks alot


25-08-2006, 22:52 PM
really hard thing to swallow at moment is that our solicitor thinks we have a great chance of the first refusal also.

the landlords are also now using what our solicitor called a "very heavy" city firm to fight us.
this all he says indictor that he nows they are taking our claims very very seriously.
so this discharge of our leagl funding certificate coul'nt of come at a worse time.


27-08-2006, 14:26 PM
apology for those who already know this bit,

We have Counsels opinion who says a "good prospect of success 60%-50%" over the disrepair issue.

Even with this you guys still think we have little chance of someone represesnting us on a "No win no fee basis" ????

l suppose why should they take it on anyway.

and then we would need to pay for seperate issue of proving our tenancy status.

after that then the big stuff of "First Refusal" would kick in we think.

Just out of interest would anyone have any approx idea's of the costs involved in paying a Solicitor to take our landlords to court over the disrepair and us proving our tenancy status ????

remembering that alot of the details and intial work has been done already under our discharged legal funding certificate.

Before we lost LSC funding {through my parents re assessment showing that they now earn above the limit to apply for legal funding} our solicitors had got to the stage were they said that we would be getting an independant surveyor to survey our building and make a report of all disrepairs.
he then said we would probably have to employ the opinion once again of counsel after that.

so l'm guessing 1. survey 2. Counsels further opinion 3. paying our own solicitor. 4. the court action proceedings.

is what we will have to pay upfront for.

just asking you guys for a guess on a figure, to at least get some idea on how we could go about to getting the money for all this.

no matter how approx any sort of a guess to how much this might cost would be really helpful.

l have done what a couple of you guys advised, and have emailed a brief history of whats happeneing with us to a specialist here and also a company from another site.
fingers crossed they will be able to help us in some way.

Thanks Charles

27-08-2006, 14:32 PM
We have Counsels opinion who says a "good prospect of success 60%-50%" over the disrepair issue.

That isn't really that good a case to be honest! Somewhere more like 90% would be a 'solid' case.

Even with this you guys still think we have little chance of someone represesnting us on a "No win no fee basis" ????

No. Try ringing a few lawyers, and you shall see why we think it...then you can see first hand, rather than us second guessing.

Just out of interest would anyone have any approx idea's of the costs involved in paying a Solicitor to take our landlords to court over the disrepair and us proving our tenancy status ????

FAR far too many variables that we do not know about to have even the wildest approximate guess.

Have you had any luck contacting those pro bono people Richie linked to?

27-08-2006, 15:54 PM

no, nothing yet back from email l sent them.
fingers crossed they may contact us early next week l hope.

As you already know from my posts l'm not the best at explaining things, just so much to explain and so difficult trying to put it into a few sentences.

As for the counsels Opinion our solicitor before said he thought disrepair was pretty much a straight forward win.

l think counsel has to be pretty conservative on these things, l must point out also he seemed less concerned in concentrating on the disrepair at the time. he said at the time "With the prospects of huge financial ramifications here we must put priority to establishing your tenancy status" { which we now are as sure of as can be} along with what maybe a breach of statute law"

that all took along time to work out, you know how slow these legal people can be.

The common parts of our building we have in writing from the council that they are in a "Dangerous state of disrepair.
Our windows are also rotted away an could fall out at anytime onto passing pedestrians.
The council also said our home suffers from severe damp due to design of bulilding which could only be fixed by central heating and installation of double glazing.
l don't want to get into issues all over "damp" as l have read here many things about that.
But proving the disrepair is not an issue.

sadly our solicitor albeit along with our consent concentrated on the "First refusal issue which used up pretty much of our funding and as you know now our funding cert was recently discharged due to our means being re assessed.



28-08-2006, 21:09 PM
if we get the money together and pay for a independent survey of our building, and then lets say his report show serious disrepair issues.
Then we can do this alone right without solicitors ???
Even if the Owners are employing a "Heavy duty" city firm.
We are in the right, right ????
Maybe the letters we send won't be so full of legal jargin, its not rocket science right ????
We'd just have to be aware of pre action protocal and that right ???

We have pretty much had a dry run over the past 18 months anyway looking at all the correspondence between our's and their's solicitors.
sometimes l think they both are wasting time and playing games together.

a friend said to me today, "Who know's this might turn out ok you fighting this thing by yourselves instead of using solicitors"

we know we are in the right here on many issue's and just hope some spelling mistake letters won't detract to much from the fight ahead.



03-09-2006, 15:07 PM
Hi Folks,

Thanks once again for all the senior members [ including Mark] past advice on the subject of “First Refusal” under breach of Part 1, Landlords and Tenants Act 1987.

I am also fully aware from a senior member here that getting accurate advice on the above matter from this forum may well prove difficult

Still I must say that the info l have received so far has been extremely helpful.

Things have come along a little bit during past week.

l have now had 2 totally conflicting opinions from 2 different people regarded as Specialists on the matters of at least most things to do with Housing law.

One is adamant that we only had 6 months from the time of sale in 1995 to invoke our rights under the first refusal rules [ whether or not we were informed by the selling Landlord or purchasing Landlord to our rights under the 1987 Landlord and tenant Act, which by the way we were not]
He goes onto say that whether or not we were informed is irrelevant and that the 6 month period started from the time we were "aware" of the sale of the building.

The other Opinion we had was almost word for word along the lines of “Marks “opinion in earlier posts.
Stating that.:
“The statute clearly says that if there was a breach by a landlord with section 5 non issue then subsequent sales to landlords make no difference until someone tells you of your rights“.

Now the grey area we are in now is if someone has told us of our rights.
The barristers Opinion we received does not say that we have a right of first refusal, but informs us that we "may well have" and that more investigation is needed.

My question today is : have we been informed of our rights by our barristers Opinion stating that we "may well have a right to First Refusal".
Or has the clock not started ticking yet as our Barristers opinion is not clear
until further investigation of our tenancy history is looked at to establish whether or not we qualify under our tenancy to first refusal rules. ???????



03-09-2006, 15:16 PM
apology for adding alittle more.

surely Marks opinion makes sense.

otherwise Landlords could just sell their property's fully aware that by not informing their tenants and caluiding with the purchasing Landlord to also not inform the tenants, just then be subject to a max fine of £5000 at some future date should the qualifying tenants "ever" become aware of their rights having been infringed.

Surely at the time of those tenants becoming aware of their rights of been cheated out of their right to purchase their own home/s they would only then at that time have any time restrictions implaced on them.

which in our case is only very recently.



05-09-2006, 09:07 AM
l am beginning to understand the word "interpretation" alot more now being applied to the:
Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, Breach of PT.1

l thought alot of it was statute including the parts that relate to our problem, apparently it is.

Just can't understand why then we have received 2 totally opposing opinions from specialists.


05-09-2006, 10:43 AM
Legal Interpretation is part and parcel of our judicial system ..

e.g. An MP proposes a BIll
It goes through the relevant stages of consideration, in Parliament and ultimately the legal civil servants write the final Bill in a manner that is SUPOOSED to be clear cut and precise ....... However, because of the many varying ways people themselves differ (if we were all the same it would e very boring!), so will their interpretation....

which is why we than have solicitors and barristers to argue the various interpretations and courts and judges to consider the arguments ......!!

It makes things easier if a similar argument has already been ruled upon by a higher court as this then sets a precedent, which (if I'm wrong
Lawstudent can correct me :D ) can only be overuled by a court higher than the one that set the precedent (e.g.Courts of Appeal )

So now you have a logical explanation, the question you have to ask yourself (I always go worst way scenario) is: what is the worst outcome that cculd happen if it went to court and can you afford to lose? If the answer is no, then I personally would not proceed any further having had two opposing views ... its 50/50.

If you had two similar views, the odds would be better stacked in your favour ..

05-09-2006, 12:52 PM
Thanks for that Pippay,

Simply put. Never thought of it that way about the risk factor of deciding or not to take it to court.

What's your own opinion if l may ask to our problem ???

From all the advice l've had so far most say that if you {landlord} break one of those statute laws ie: PT.1 of Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, and they tell me those laws written in stone, that we pretty much have them by the balls.

As tenants we thought thats the good position were in.

but now still very unclear as to how we stand.


05-09-2006, 12:57 PM
OK .. well at the moment the "expert" opinions you have are equally divided .. why not get one other expert opinion, see what he/she says and see which way the scales tip? More in your favour or not?

Then decide on the basis of the law of probability .. if it is more probable you will win, then go to court; if its only 50% or lower, leave it alone, if you can't afford to lose ..

05-09-2006, 14:04 PM
good ldea Pippay,

We are damn stretched over funding all this but we think we have a good chance.

We are now Waiting to hear response from our original barrister as to his views of another barrister disagreeing with his wriiten opinion.

All this costing buckets, and until there is some clarity on the law we cannot even think about taking our landlords to court at this stage.

l think your right, we could go on paying and paying for all kinds of opinions, and will really have to decide ourselves whether to take the landlord to court or not soon.

The barrister we spoke to most recently said with regards to our case its pretty much unchartered territory with regards to refering to past case law, and that our history is pretty unique.


05-09-2006, 15:28 PM
I know someone who took a case to court which was not an almost certain win and ended up having to sell their house to pay their and the other side's fees.
Other side will have top legal people as you say and they don't come cheap...
Do you know who the solicitor was who handled the sale? You could approach them re professional negligence in not letting you know and see what happens?

05-09-2006, 23:17 PM
no island girl we don't. back then in 1995.
Thanks for idea, l'll talk to solicitor about that.

all we do know is the landlord at the time did not inform us of our rights under first refusal, along with purchasing landlord.

and that we only recently became aware of a breach of our rights from back in 1995.

apology again for repeating myself.

now the first advice we got from first barristers opinion states that we have a right under PT1, Landlord and tenants Act 1987.

This in theory means that we would from the time of becoming aware of our rights have a certain period of time to make a claim to "First refusal" against current owners of our building today over the rightful ownership of our home.

Basically we think the current owners because of past owners breaking laws do not legally own our property as we have not been given the right to buy under past first refusal breaches.

bloody complicated and so sorry l cannot clearly explain things.

the first barristers opinion is fully behind our interpretation of those laws.

The second barrister's opinion states that our first barristers opinion is without a doubt "sadly incorrect"

all we are doing at moment is waiting for reply from first barrister as to other barristers oposing opinion.

l would like to add both opinions are from Chambers of reputable standing on housing matters.

This as you can imagine leaves my family and myself in an as much unclear postion as before we went to either of these experts for advice.


05-09-2006, 23:32 PM
Charles, out of interest, why are you doing all this? From what you've told us, you don't actually have the money to buy the property even if it were offered to you and I'm just wondering , if this is the case, what you see as a beneficial outcome to all of this???

Even assuming you won, if you can't afford to buy it, the money you're spending on barristers and legal advice seems to be a waste ..

Usually the only true winners in a legal case of any description are the solicitors and barristers - they still get paid, win or lose !!!

Just an observation, based on your posts, that got me thinking so please don't take it as a criticism

06-09-2006, 09:24 AM
good question pippay.

Apology once again for explaining in previous posts our history in a muddled way.

Well what the barrister informs us is that if there was a breach of the 1987 L&T act, which would only be so if we are recorgnised as rent act tenants, which at moment current owners are saying we are not.

so if we are proven to be rent act tenants { only possible way we are told because landlords refuse to accept this, is now court action } then what follows after that is a case for breach of L&T act.

what we would gain from this is full security of tennure { yep we know assured is pretty secure also} and rent being lowered considerably.

The biggest possible gain though would be we are told again by the barrister is that being able to purchase our building today at 1995 price.

Now the building is worth 3 times today what it sold for in 95.

mainly due to huge development of our area now and the site our home is on we are told prime location for that reason.

our barrister told us to get advice from a finnancial expert on the feasibililty of a company funding the purchase of our building for us on the basis that we would sell it back to them.
Both of us then walking away with very big gains within a very short period of time.
He went onto say that he thinks this option had a very good prospect of success should we win a future case for breach of L&T act from 95.


06-09-2006, 09:37 AM
Well in that case it appears there's alot at stake .. good luck !

06-09-2006, 10:03 AM
yep!!!! just a couple of million or so.

Pretty skint also, but working on that one.
Only so much we can afford going pvt.
Really hoping problems will snowball for our current owners, making them perhaps make us an offer.
Thats what our solicitor told us.
But he went on to say they [ PLC] will just make things as awkward as possible and hope we eventually give up or more likely run out of money first.

By the way l emailed that pro bono charity company up centre of London.
Sadly no reply.
Although actually not to surprised as you can see explaining things clearly here not my greatest gift.


06-09-2006, 22:19 PM
Hi Charles
Although you seem to think you have a good case for the disrepair claim because your brief tells you so; the mere mention of 50-60% chance smacks of no case at all; seeing as costs can soar and the result is no better than a random flip of a coin!

You also need to be careful with the RFR case as well; as I seem to remember you were motivated by making a quick £ by reselling the freehold. Nothing wrong with this in itself except you cannot be sure of a satisfactory resale at the premium you desire.
Not really thought about it but I get a gut feeling that lessees as organised as you'd like to be would put a higher element of risk to the investment which then would downsize the premium paid (and as the 'Dragons' would say: "I won't be investing"... :eek: )

Working with borrowed money could get you into trouble as the hyenas move in to reclaim the loan and interest etc.
Contrast this with my position where the £ involved are well within my budget and my motivation is purely to control my freehold at any cost; but seeking obviously to minimise it.

06-09-2006, 22:51 PM
Hi Charles
Back again (For some reason I was unable to read the posting from page 6 on) but it tends to back what I've just said.
Something has just struck me. Are you all tenants of leaseholders (or underleases) Because if there hasnot been a disposal by your immediate landlord but only by your landord's landlord then you get no rights with respect of freehold sales. You only get rights up to your immediate landlords disposal.If there are intermediate leases then their values may be deminishing significantly if they are short. Could you please type out the chain of interests in the property with you at the bottom and the freeholder at the top with lease lengths if known!

Wiith respect to the leagal precidence required the Savva case is all I've found but it was concerned not with a sale of a freehold but the creation of additional leases which amounts to a 'relevent disposal'; actual disposal was only talked about; so what it needs to set the case in stone is some case of a disposal.That's why my small £ case is a great opportunity to get my name immortalised as a precident in law:D

06-09-2006, 23:24 PM
l'll try my best mark, your a little ahead of me on most legal stuff though so apology again if l don't get what your saying.
but l think l actually do.

we have had 3 freehold sales going back to first in 1995, each 3 past landlords we are sure bought the whole building and everything each time.

sale 95 sale 99 sale 2001 and current owners bought 2005.

we have now had our first barristers opinion over 5 months, making us aware of possible rights to first refusal back to 95.

what worries me is now that we have been made "aware" of potential breach in 95, do we have to act within 6 months of becoming aware ?????????

As for making a fast buck, well the truth is the building is in a terrible state and being able to possibly purchase it would be a way of totally securing our future tenancy and us deciding what to do or not to do, not being in the hands of a landlord.
the fact that we might get companies willing to loan us the money to buy the building{ at knockdown 95 price} for ourselves on the basis that we sell it back to them at still alot less than todays values would all be a very good bonus for us.
of course they would be buying us all out, just us and remaining couple of tenants, and we would be more than happy to get away from this dump, and let the developers do whatever they liked with the building and land.

our solicitor did his sums and said that we and the remaining couple of tenants could get a very high pay off each and still the company that intially loans us the money to purchase our building would also make a big killing .

we are not greedy and we told that to solicitors, we just want to get away and live somewhere without disrepair and have security of tenure.

our barrister told us if we want this, then using first refusal as a bargining tool with current owners in his opinion would be best route to take.

of course we got that opinion when we had public funding from LSC, now of course that has gone, so different ball game all together.

All in all mark we are still unclear as 2 barristers both giving different opinions towards first refusal laws.

l am pretty sure one of them has got it totally wrong, but which one ??????
because views on outcome so opposing.
cheers Mark.


06-09-2006, 23:31 PM
just adding abit.

Mark, the 50-60% re disrepair success rate came with the words "have a good prospect of success".
our barristers opinion goes onto say that he does not have a survey report so bearing in mind the state of disrepair is on our word only at this moment in time.
Do you think this is why he gives the cautious %'s with regards to disrepair ????


08-09-2006, 13:45 PM
This very recent piece of case law may help you Charles


09-09-2006, 00:35 AM
cheers pms.

all advice always helpful from your guys.


13-09-2006, 00:16 AM
That was a very interesting case which /I have stored for reference. I'm not sure of the relevence to Charles' case though as it is chasing the rule of very short remaing lease theory with landlord's overriding right to prevent new lease granting for the reason of intent to develop the premises containing the tenants flat.
Never let your lease diminish to 10 years or less; was it 5 years or 7 that the rule kicks in?

Charles perhaps my reference to greed was a little strong; financial gain may be more appropriate.
I'm still unclear as to your situation.
Are you and your fellows leaseholders and groundrent paying; or rent paying?
Is the person(s) you pay rent to head lease holders or the freeholder. These disposals over the last 12 years or so; are they your immediate 'boss' or your bosses boss?

13-09-2006, 09:47 AM
This thread is collapsing under its own weight. In my opinion people gave their opinions/recommendations to begin with and the posts have started to become repetitive after about reply #12. We're now up to #73!

13-09-2006, 23:44 PM
Hi Poppy,

Your welcome to give an opinion on "First Refusal" ref our "unique circumstances" so stated to us by 2 barristors and a couple of different expert's in the field.
Its all good and well speed reading the relevent Acts and qouting them here, but so far from the Experts opinions we've had none of them agree on the major issue's.
l'd be welcome to know your own opinion seeing as you appear to think its clear cut just by a couple of previous posters agreeing with one another at the beginning of this tread. { done and dusted even before the 12th post by some opinions}
Believe me l'd like nothing better than to start up a new thread on a "leaking tap" or something else, but here is where we are at moment and thankfully l'm still getting extremely good on going advice from some very well informed members.
Not that l'd know an Apple from an Orange.

l'll apologise now Poppy for repeating a bit of stuff below.


1. we are rent paying Statutory Tenants all under the Rent Act 1977.
2. The Landlord we pay rent direct to, who is the Freeholder.
3. Yes, the disposals over the last 12 yrs, on each disposal we believe there was a breach of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 PT,1 { of which of course we have only recently discovered within the last 6 months}
4. No they were not our boss'es.



14-09-2006, 18:45 PM
We were approached today by a property developer today, who through an old friend of mine was informed of the current First refusal offer being made to us.
He asked us how much would we want to walk away from our property, that he'd need to know figures from all 3 remaining tenants in building in order to work out if viable business deal for him.

There is 4 of us in our 3 bedroom flat, Mom, Dad, Sister and me.
And we live in London.

l know you guy's will probably say whatever you deem reasonable, but if any of you could actually shoot some figures that would give me an idea how far out or close l am thinking myself.

Someone asked me what is the value of a Protected tenancy with full security of Tenure?
The price of a new Jag ?
half the value of another 3 bed flat in our area ?
or more ? or less ?

We are pretty desperate to get away though as the area really has gone downhill crime wise, plus the terrible noise and disrepair issue's.

any kind of ball park figures would be great as to l can't even guess how much to ask for.

Problem is my Mom and Dad want to remain in London, so l'm guessing any figure would have to have that in mind.

The First refusal offer ends tomorrow and the property developer just said his company would need to know the figures by tomorrow in order to decide to go into contract with us or not on sale of the building which they would intially finance on our behalf.

this all happened just today, these developers don't hang about do they.


15-09-2006, 11:26 AM
Well, I think a reasonable figure would be about 50-65% of the profit that is going to be made on the property(50-65% between all of you, obviously not just for you!). But, this really is just a guesstimate, and is just my idea of a reasonable figure. You just have to go for your gut feeling really! What I would do is ask him to make you an offer, then you know what kind of ball park he is thinking in. But he will probably make a very low offer at first, so needless to say barter! Maybe even up to 50% on top of his initial offer, depending what it is :p

15-09-2006, 15:34 PM
Charles10 - what happened?

15-09-2006, 16:23 PM
Thanks MrShed,

island girl, the first refusal offer made by our Landlords has just ended, the 2 months up.
This developer would you believe came to see us on last day.
He says he will go and talk to the owners of our property {PLC} about buying the property from them now, of course he has to have the figures amount of money "us" the remaing 3 tenants would want to vacate in order for him to develope the site.

My guess is the current owners {PLC] will tell him to wonkoff, but you never know.

he said damn shame we never came to see him when first refusal offer made to us 2 months ago, then hw would of had alot more time to sort the figures out.
Anyway the other 2 tenants l spoke to last night didnt want to talk to him, probably more through surprise, as l know they are as eager as us to get away from this dump.

we are guessing now that our Landlords {PLC} will either sell to one of their subsiduary companies or do nothing.
When we had legal funding a couple of months ago our then solicitor said in his opinion our landlords were just "taking the piss" with us by making us this first refusal offer, and that they might be just being cautious and maybe aware of past "first refusal offers" not being made to us by previous landlords.

anyway thanks for idea on how much we could think about asking for in payoff.
we's probably accept a Big Mac meal as a deal the way things are going around here at moment with disrepair and noise levels.

cheers charles.

22-09-2006, 10:18 AM
Hi Mark,

Cheers for all your past advice and time.

There has been 4 sales since 1995 of our building, on no sale were we ever informed of our rights under first refusal either by seller or purchaser.
Just the usual stuff of "hello we are the new owners and pls now pay our rent into this bank account No.

As Senior posters all know here we have been getting all kinds of opinions on the “Breach of PT.1, Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
I mean ourselves from the legal profession

The opinions have been:

1. No we do not have a right under first refusal because the time limit has elapsed. Time limit being from the time we became aware of each sale of our building.

2. That in theory we do have a right to first refusal, meaning former Landlords being prosecuted and us being compensated.

3. We have a right to ownership of our building from current owners who would have to sell building back to us at the price/time of first breach of First refusal 1995.

4. That we may have a right of First Refusal provided we act within a 6 month period of becoming aware of those rights. { that 6 month period coming to an end very shortly, ie written barristers Opinion, of which the second barrister we went to see recently informed us that the first barristers opinion was an incorrect Opinion, Do you see the dilemma we are in now ?}
Markonee1 one’s quote below very similar to what above solicitor told us :
“ Charles the statute clearly says that if there was a breach by a landlord with section 5 non issue then subsequent sales to landlords make no difference until someone tells you of your rights.”

5. We do not have a right of First Refusal due to not acting within a 6 yr period of the said breach. *

Believe it or not we have been to see 2 separate Solicitors and also 2 different Barristers re the first 4 opinions.
* The 5th view above l heard from a member on this site.

Anyway just wanted to let you guys know what’s been happening after taking your advice and seeking advice from experts in this field.

Sadly still confused as ever. Along with empty pockets.

And as always any other idea’s/views you guys can come up with remains l think as good an avenue as any of these experts we have paid a lot to see already.


26-06-2007, 16:20 PM
Just found this whilst flicking through archives. It pre-dates my membership.
Did anything subsequently happen? Or did the story end here?