Hyde Park leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
My partner and I may need to let out our Hyde Park 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Hyde Park conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
Your lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Hyde Park do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.
I have recently realised that I have Fifty years remaining on my flat in Hyde Park. I now wish to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Hyde Park.
I have just started marketing my garden flat in Hyde Park.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Hyde Park. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.
If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).
I work for a busy estate agent office in Hyde Park where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Hyde Park conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the buyer.
I acquired a basement flat in Hyde Park, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Hyde Park with an extended lease are worth £236,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 yearly. The lease ceases on 21st October 2079
With just 56 years remaining on your lease we estimate the price of your lease extension to range between £26,600 and £30,800 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.
The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.