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Paddington leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My husband and I may need to let out our Paddington garden flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a Paddington conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Paddington do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review 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 consent.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Paddington. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Paddington.

Looking forward to complete next month on a basement flat in Paddington. Conveyancing solicitors inform me that they are sending me a report tomorrow. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Paddington should include some of the following:

  • You should receive a copy of the lease
  • Setting out your legal entitlements in respect of common areas in the building.For instance, does the lease permit a right of way over a path or staircase?
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide.
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your premises and do you know what it means in practice? For details of the information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Paddington please ask your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Paddington

  • I am looking at a two flats in Paddington which have in the region of fifty years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

    There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Paddington is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the premises. For most buyers and banks, leases with less than 75 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 a residence 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 Paddington 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 reputable estate agent office in Paddington where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Paddington conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

    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 buyer can avoid having 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 at the same time as 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.

    Having spent years of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Paddington. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Paddington conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Paddington residence 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 number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 24.02 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Paddington