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Questions and Answers: Clerkenwell leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell. Before I get started I want to be sure as to the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Clerkenwell - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

Frank (my husband) and I may need to sub-let our Clerkenwell 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Clerkenwell conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A lease governs the relationship between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Clerkenwell do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

Looking forward to sign contracts shortly on a leasehold property in Clerkenwell. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they will have a report out to me within the next couple of days. What should I be looking out for?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell should include some of the following:

  • The physical extent of the property. This will be the apartment itself but could also include a loft or cellar if applicable.
  • Setting out your rights in respect of common areas in the block.E.G., does the lease provide for a right of way over an accessway or hallways?
  • Does the lease prohibit wood flooring?
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a sinking fund?
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Clerkenwell please enquire of your lawyer in advance of your conveyancing in Clerkenwell

  • I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Clerkenwell which have approximately 50 years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

    There are plenty of short leases in Clerkenwell. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

    Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Clerkenwell. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before 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 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).

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such matters? Can you recommend a Clerkenwell conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    if there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Clerkenwell flat is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 66.8 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Clerkenwell