Frequently asked questions relating to St Helier leasehold conveyancing
My partner and I may need to rent out our St Helier 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a St Helier conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Even though your last St Helier conveyancing solicitor is not available you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to obtain permission via your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior consent. The consent must not not be unreasonably turned down. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.
I only have Sixty One years remaining on my flat in St Helier. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What are my options?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering St Helier.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of maisonettes in St Helier both have in the region of 50 years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in St Helier is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability of the property. For most purchasers and banks, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. 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 St Helier 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 long established estate agency in St Helier where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local St Helier conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence 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 for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 purchaser.
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in St Helier from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in St Helier can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
- The majority landlords or Management Companies in St Helier charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in St Helier.
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can a leaseholder apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a St Helier conveyancing firm to assist?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a St Helier conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a St Helier residence is Buchanan Court 39 Vernon Road in April 2010. the Tribunal assessed that the premium payable for the freehold of the block should be £44,000. This case affected 2 flats. The unexpired term was 66.67 years.