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Hammersmith leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to sub-let our Hammersmith 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Hammersmith conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations 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. The majority of leases in Hammersmith do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

I've found a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Hammersmith. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Hammersmith ?

The majority of houses in Hammersmith are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Hammersmith so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Hammersmith conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor should appraise you on the various issues.

Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold flat in Hammersmith. Conveyancing and Barclays Direct mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Hammersmith who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Hammersmith conveyancing lawyer 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 tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Hammersmith both have in the region of fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Hammersmith is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. 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 premises 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 Hammersmith 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new 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 work for a busy estate agency in Hammersmith where we see a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Hammersmith conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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 disposal of the property.

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 own a two-bedroom flat in Hammersmith. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

if there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to make a decision on the price payable.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Hammersmith residence is 19 Crisp Road in June 2009. Following a vesting order (Under section 26 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993) The tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold was £33,756,apportioned as to£12,285 for the lower at and £21,471for the upper fat. This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 68.32 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Hammersmith