Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in St Helier

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Top Five Questions relating to St Helier leasehold conveyancing

My fiance and I may need to rent out our St Helier ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a St Helier conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in St Helier 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 permission.

There are only Sixty One years remaining on my flat in St Helier. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that 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 enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering St Helier.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in St Helier. 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. It is an essential part 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).

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £275000 flat in St Helier on Monday in a week. The management company has quoted £336 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in St Helier?

St Helier conveyancing on leasehold apartments ordinarily results in administration charges invoiced by managing agents :

  • Addressing pre-contract enquiries
  • Where consent is required before sale in St Helier
  • Supplying insurance information
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for St Helier leasehold premises is £350. For St Helier conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide answers.

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

if there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the price.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case 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 the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 66.67 years.

Are there frequently found deficiencies that you see in leases for St Helier properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in St Helier is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

You may have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Virgin Money, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.