Frequently asked questions relating to Earls Court leasehold conveyancing
I want to sublet my leasehold apartment in Earls Court. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?
A lease governs relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Earls Court do not contain subletting altogether – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years remaining on my lease in Earls Court. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?
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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist may be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Earls Court.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Earls Court which have in the region of forty five years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Earls Court is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Earls Court conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Earls Court where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Earls Court conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.
I am the proprietor of a ground floor flat in Earls Court. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for a lease extension?
Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a Earls Court conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Earls Court property is 5 Wetherby Gardens in June 2014. the Tribunal concluded that the price to be paid for the freehold of the property was £2,369,452. This case affected 5 flats. The unexpired lease term was 38.98 years.
What makes a Earls Court lease unmortgageable?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Earls Court. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Coventry Building Society, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.