Top Five Questions relating to Homerton leasehold conveyancing
Frank (my husband) and I may need to sub-let our Homerton garden flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Homerton conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek 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 leaseholder; in particular, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Homerton do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.
I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor apartment in Homerton.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is discharge the service charge 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 unless 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Back In 2005, I bought a leasehold flat in Homerton. Conveyancing and Lloyds TSB Bank mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Homerton who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?
First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Homerton conveyancing solicitor 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 legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Homerton. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 work for a busy estate agency in Homerton where we see a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Homerton conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer 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 needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is 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.
Following years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Homerton. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the sum to be paid.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Homerton premises is 104 Nightingale Road in May 2009. The Tribunal's Decision is that the premium torbe paid for the enfranchisement in this case is £112,174 This case was in relation to 10 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 71.25 years.