Common questions relating to Chalk Farm leasehold conveyancing
I want to let out my leasehold flat in Chalk Farm. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?
A lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Chalk Farm do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.
I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Chalk Farm. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Chalk Farm ?
Most houses in Chalk Farm are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Chalk Farm in which case you should be shopping around for a Chalk Farm conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Chalk Farm where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Chalk Farm conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Chalk Farm conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Chalk Farm conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Chalk Farm conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- Can they put you in touch with client in Chalk Farm who can give a testimonial?
We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Chalk Farm. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
if there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the amount due.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Chalk Farm property is Flat 2 27 Mackeson Road in December 2012. The Tribunal assessed the value of the lease extension premium at £35,435 and rounded the figure to £35,500 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 64.77 years.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm what are the most common lease problems?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Bank of Scotland, and Britannia all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.