A leaseholder has had a £600,000 flat confiscated by his freeholder after “redecorating” it in what campaigners say is the most extreme case of forfeiture they have seen.
Charles McCadden bought the flat, in 2016, on the upper floor of a two-storey Victorian terrace in northwest London, with cash from an inheritance. Afshan Malik, who lives in the downstairs flat, owns the freehold to the property.
He redecorated the flat soon after moving in- including having a brand new kitchen and bathroom fitted, but didn’t seek permission with the freeholder.
The pair’s relationship broke down over a disagreement about maintenance costs and afterwards Malik took the case to a tribunal.
The tribunal visited home and and found a new bathroom, kitchen and central heating had been installed by leaseholder and holes in the external walls, freeholder’s radiators, floorboards and a toilet were removed.
Mr McCadden was ordered to pay £216.62 in outstanding service charges and Dr Malik’s £300 costs.
He refused to pay or reverse the works, Willesden County Court issued a forfeiture order and a possession order, transferring the lease into Dr Malik’s
But due to a forfeiture law, that allows freeholder to take ownership of a property if there is a breach in the lease, Mr McCadden was removed from his home.
The ruling has left Mr McCadden with nothing. He said, he has been left destitute and suicidal after losing his home in the dispute over works to improve his property.