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Fitzrovia leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My wife and I may need to let out our Fitzrovia garden flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Fitzrovia conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Fitzrovia do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review 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.

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Fitzrovia.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you discharge the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Fitzrovia. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Fitzrovia ?

Most houses in Fitzrovia are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Fitzrovia in which case you should be shopping around for a Fitzrovia conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

Back In 2004, I bought a leasehold flat in Fitzrovia. Conveyancing and The Mortgage Works mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Fitzrovia who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

First contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Fitzrovia conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Fitzrovia where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Fitzrovia conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Fitzrovia conveyancing firm to represent me?

Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Fitzrovia conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Fitzrovia property 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 remaining number of years on the lease was 73.26 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Fitzrovia