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Questions and Answers: Charing Cross leasehold conveyancing

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our Charing Cross garden flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Charing Cross conveyancing firm in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

The lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Charing Cross do not contain subletting altogether – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years left on my flat in Charing Cross. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. 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 for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. For most situations a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Charing Cross.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Charing Cross. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Charing Cross ?

The majority of houses in Charing Cross are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Charing Cross so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Charing Cross conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Charing Cross both have about forty five years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Charing Cross. The lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As a lease shortens the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Charing Cross. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part 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).

I have given up trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Charing Cross. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute 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 First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to assess the amount due.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case 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 related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 73.26 years.

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Lease Extensions in Charing Cross