Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Mayfair:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Mayfair leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Mayfair. Before I get started I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Mayfair - 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 husband and I may need to sub-let our Mayfair ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Mayfair 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 prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Mayfair do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests 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 am attracted to a couple of flats in Mayfair which have approximately 50 years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Mayfair is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. For most buyers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 Mayfair conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 Mayfair where we see a number of flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Mayfair conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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.

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 am the leaseholder of a a ground floor purpose built flat in Mayfair. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum payable for a lease extension?

Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to calculate the amount due.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a Mayfair residence is Flat 1 3 Upper Belgrave Street in December 2010. The Tribunal determined that the price payablefor the Lease extension in respect of the subject premises was £2,202,007 This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 21 years.

What are the common problems that you come across in leases for Mayfair properties?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Mayfair. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
  • 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

A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Leeds Building Society, and Aldermore all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Mayfair