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Top Five Questions relating to Marylebone leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Marylebone. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in Marylebone - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

My partner and I may need to rent out our Marylebone 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Marylebone conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Marylebone do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see 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 permission.

I work for a long established estate agency in Marylebone where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Marylebone conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as 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. 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Marylebone conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Marylebone conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Marylebone conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Marylebone who can give a testimonial?

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can one make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Marylebone conveyancing firm to represent me?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Marylebone property is Flats 37 & 39 88/90 Portland Place in December 2010. The Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the lease extensions in respect of these two flats is as follows:- For Flat 37, the sum of £385,230.00 For Flat 39, the sum of £436,780.00 This case related to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 24.02 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Marylebone what are the most common lease defects?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Marylebone is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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 may encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Barnsley Building Society, and Bank of Ireland all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Marylebone