Hoxton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Hoxton ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Hoxton 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 permits subletting. How do we find out?
The lease governs relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say 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. Most leases in Hoxton do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.
I’m about to sell my ground floor flat in Hoxton.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Back In 2001, I bought a leasehold house in Hoxton. Conveyancing and Lloyds TSB Bank mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Hoxton who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Hoxton conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Hoxton. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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 agent office in Hoxton where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Hoxton conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done 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 garden flat in Hoxton. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for a lease extension?
Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Hoxton conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Hoxton property is 137 & 139 Haberdasher Street in December 2013. The Tribunal determines in accordance with section 48 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease for each Property should be £12,350.00. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 72.39 years.