Top Five Questions relating to North Harrow leasehold conveyancing
My wife and I may need to rent out our North Harrow garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a North Harrow conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Your lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in North Harrow do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 68 years left on my lease in North Harrow. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. In some cases a specialist would be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing North Harrow.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in North Harrow. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in North Harrow ?
The majority of houses in North Harrow are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in North Harrow in which case you should be looking for a North Harrow conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.
Back In 2004, I bought a leasehold flat in North Harrow. Conveyancing and Britannia mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing solicitor in North Harrow who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a North Harrow conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in North Harrow. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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 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 am the leaseholder of a first floor flat in North Harrow. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?
in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the price.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a North Harrow property is flat 93b Welldon Crescent in May 2009. The Tribunals valuation for a 90-year lease extension of this fat was £13,171 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 75.25 years.