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Recently asked questions relating to Chalk Farm leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I may need to sub-let our Chalk Farm 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Chalk Farm conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease governs relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will say if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Chalk Farm do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I have recently realised that I have 72 years remaining on my lease in Chalk Farm. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Chalk Farm.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Chalk Farm both have about 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

A lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease shortens the saleability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Chalk Farm. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

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 ensure 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).

My wife and I have hit a brick wall in negotiating a lease extension in Chalk Farm. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

if there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to judgment on the price payable.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a Chalk Farm residence 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 related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 64.77 years.

What are the frequently found defects that you encounter in leases for Chalk Farm properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
  • Insurance obligations
  • 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. Barclays , Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Chalk Farm