Questions and Answers: Charing Cross leasehold conveyancing
Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our Charing Cross 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Charing Cross conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in Charing Cross do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.
There are only 68 years unexpired on my flat in Charing Cross. I need to get lease extension 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Charing Cross.
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Charing Cross where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Charing Cross conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 before, or simultaneously with 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 buyer.
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Charing Cross with the purpose of expediting the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Charing Cross can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Charing Cross leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you fail to have the approvals in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
Completion in due on the disposal of our £400000 flat in Charing Cross on Wednesday in a week. The management company has quoted £300 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Charing Cross?
Charing Cross conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not requires the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address such questions most will be content to assist. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.
My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Charing Cross. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Charing Cross conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Charing Cross residence is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 73.26 years.