Missing freeholder

I am acting in an estate where the deceased owned a leashold flat in a block of 5 over 3 stories, and a share of the freehold. There is no freehold management company. One of the other 3 freeholders has sold his flat, without dealing with the freehold and now cannot/refuses to be contacted. Does anyone know how to acheive agreement with the Land Regsitry to remove the missing freeholder?


Guy Birtwistle
Ashby de la Zouch

Hi Guy,

I’d suggest there is not a straight forward answer.

The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 provides rights to leaseholders who’s freeholders wont or cant act.

Richard Bishop

Have hesitated to answer, but in view of apparent silence would venture to suggest this is [at root] a trust problem - perhaps why it is on this forum.
I would assume from the original post that the freehold title is registered in four names, presumably as “trustees of land” [holding the legal title on behalf of the beneficial owners], particularly as mention is made of five flats but only four registered owners [four being the maximum number of trustees who could act at one time over land].
If so, I suggest starting with the Trustee Act 1925 [as amended] in particular s 36(1) concerning removal of trustees.
The normal ongoing problem is then to deal with the beneficial interest as the Act gives no dispositionary powers, but in this case it seems it can be a problem for the continuing/new trustees to worry about later [particularly the recent buyer whose conveyancer apparently failed to ensure transfer of both leasehold and freehold interests, so may be looking to his insurers to cover any negligence …].
Kevin Mullen

Thank you, Kevin

I had turned to s.36 (1) of the Trustee Act and had a deed of retirement and appointment of trustees signed by the active freeholders but I believe Land Registry will not remove the AWOL freeholder on this evidence. My difficulty is that I act for the administrators of the estate of one of the freeholders wanting to sell one of the flats.


My sympathies Guy - it is many years since I last had to deal directly with HMLR. From the original post I had surmised that 4 out of 5 leaseholders were registered on the freehold title, so replacing the non-performing one by another current one would be acceptable - even to HMLR [or whatever they are calling themselves this week]. So is your perceived problem that your 2 (or more) administrators cannot be added to the trustees of the freehold as registered without exceeding the limit of 4 trustees?

Thank you. Yes, i would have 5 trustees of the freehold with the missing freeholder remaining on the title.