Top Five Questions relating to Mayfair leasehold conveyancing
My fiance and I may need to let out our Mayfair 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Mayfair conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. 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 is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review 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 hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Mayfair. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in Mayfair are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Mayfair so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Mayfair conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Mayfair. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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).
What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Mayfair conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Mayfair conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Mayfair 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 of use:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Following months of dialogue we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Mayfair. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
in cases where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to judgment on the price.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Mayfair property 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 remaining number of years on the lease was 21 years.
What are the frequently found deficiencies that you encounter in leases for Mayfair properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Mayfair. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are missing. 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 will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Barclays , Coventry 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 is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.