Frequently asked questions relating to Knightsbridge leasehold conveyancing
I wish to rent out my leasehold apartment in Knightsbridge. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?
Even though your last Knightsbridge conveyancing lawyer is not around you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you need to obtain consent from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet without first obtaining permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I only have 62 years remaining on my lease in Knightsbridge. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?
On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply 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 magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Knightsbridge.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed flat in Knightsbridge.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay 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 managing agents 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.
If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £375000 flat in Knightsbridge in nine days. The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Knightsbridge?
Knightsbridge conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally requires the purchaser’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries most will be willing to assist. They are entitled charge a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it exceeds £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.
I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? Can you recommend a Knightsbridge conveyancing firm to assist?
if there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Knightsbridge property is Flat 3 47 Cadogan Square in December 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable to the landord by the leaseholder for the lease extension was £732,935 This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 13.33 years.
What are the frequently found problems that you encounter in leases for Knightsbridge properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Knightsbridge. All leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Yorkshire Building Society, Coventry Building Society, and Britannia all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.