Questions and Answers: Brentford leasehold conveyancing
Frank (my husband) and I may need to sub-let our Brentford 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Brentford conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
Notwithstanding that your previous Brentford conveyancing lawyer is not around you can review your lease to check if you are permitted to let out the premises. The rule is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek permission from your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior consent. Such consent should not be unreasonably turned down. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I have recently realised that I have 68 years left on my lease in Brentford. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. For most situations a specialist would be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Brentford.
I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed apartment in Brentford.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Brentford. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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 inherited a ground-floor 1950’s flat in Brentford. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for the purchase of the freehold?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Brentford conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Brentford flat is 105 & 105A Seaford Road in July 2013. The tribunal determined that the price payable for the freehold interest in the Property was £43,985 . This sum was to be paid into Brentford County Court to enable the matter to proceed This case related to 2 flats.
What makes a Brentford lease problematic?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Brentford. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
- A duty to insure the building
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Chelsea Building Society, and Britannia all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.