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Common questions relating to Chessington leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to let out our Chessington ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Chessington conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your previous Chessington conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you need to seek permission from your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet without first obtaining permission. Such consent should not be unreasonably withheld. If your lease prohibits you from letting out the property you will need to 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 Chessington. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the lessor. In some cases a specialist would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Chessington.

Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold flat in Chessington. Conveyancing and Halifax mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing practitioner in Chessington who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Chessington conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Chessington. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. 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).

Completion in due on our sale of a £400000 apartment in Chessington next Friday . The managing agents has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Chessington?

Chessington conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually involves the buyer’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries most will be willing to do so. They are entitled invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have no option but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.

Having spent months of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Chessington. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

if there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the price payable.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Chessington property is Flat D 15 Claremont Gardens in September 2013. TheTribunal determined in accordance with section48 and Schedule13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease should be fourteen thousand one hundred and eighty seven pounds (£14,187.00) This case affected 1 flat.

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Lease Extensions in Chessington