It was back in 1968 that the first block of 12 flats owned by Brighton Lions Housing Society was formally opened. The flats were built on a plot of land leased from Brighton Borough Council (as the local authority was in those days). After some negotiation, it had been agreed by the Ministry of Housing that the annual ground rent of just £5 would be acceptable. A few years later we negotiated the lease of more land on which we built another block of 18 flats. The ground rent on the whole plot remained at £5.
The lease now has less than 50 years to run and we are anxious to secure our tenure for the future. Having recently spent a lot of money replacing all the windows, kitchens and bathrooms and now being in the throws of rewiring, we are concerned that in 25 to 30 years time, when further substantial sums will need to be spent, we will have little incentive if there is only about 20 years left on the lease.
We started talking to the Council a year ago about the possibility of buying the freehold but it was only yesterday that we actually managed to meet anybody to talk face to face. We are promised that we will hear something, even if it is only what needs to happen next, within about four weeks.
This is turning out to be a very long drawn out process but at least we seem to be moving at last!