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Questions and Answers: Hackney leasehold conveyancing

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

Some leases for properties in Hackney do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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 recently realised that I have Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Hackney. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. For most situations a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Hackney.

Looking forward to exchange soon on a basement flat in Hackney. Conveyancing solicitors assured me that they report fully next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

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

  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • The physical extent of the demise. This will be the apartment itself but might incorporate a roof space or cellar if applicable.
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide.
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice?
  • 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
  • What the implications are if you breach a clause of your lease? For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Hackney please ask your conveyancer in advance of your conveyancing in Hackney

  • My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Hackney. Conveyancing and Alliance & Leicester mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in Hackney who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

    First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Hackney conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

    Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Hackney conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

    If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Hackney conveyancing firm) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Hackney conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

    • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Hackney in the last year?

  • I am the leaseholder of a a ground floor purpose built flat in Hackney. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount due for the purchase of the freehold?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the price payable.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Hackney residence is 150 Amhurst Road in December 2013. The tribunal concluded that the premium to be paid by the applicant for the enfranchisement of the subject property was £43,500. This case was in relation to 4 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 90 (or thereabouts).

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hackney