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Questions and Answers: Queen's Park leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to let out our Queen's Park ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Queen's Park 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?

Even though your previous Queen's Park conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can review your lease to check if you are permitted to let out the property. The rule is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to seek consent via your landlord or some other party prior to subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior consent. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 62 years left on my flat in Queen's Park. I now wish 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 submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. For most situations a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Queen's Park.

I am attracted to a two apartments in Queen's Park both have in the region of fifty years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the value of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this field

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Queen's Park conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Queen's Park conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with several firms including non Queen's Park conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the costs for lease extension work?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Queen's Park with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Queen's Park can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • The majority landlords or managing agents in Queen's Park charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Queen's Park.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Queen's Park home move. Where a reissued share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have had difficulty in negotiating a lease extension in Queen's Park. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to decide the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Queen's Park property is 4 & 4A Charteris Road in June 2009. the Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the enfranchisement of 4/4a Charteris Road to be £15,510 for at 4and £15,694 for at 4a This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 70.02 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Queen's Park