Common questions relating to St James's leasehold conveyancing
Harry (my fiance) and I may need to sub-let our St James's garden flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a St James's conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in St James's do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests 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 Fifty years unexpired on my lease in St James's. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. 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 for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. For most situations a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report to 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 investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering St James's.
I today plan to offer on a house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in St James's. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in St James's are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in St James's so you should seriously consider looking for a St James's conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in St James's. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in St James's who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a St James's conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
Having spent months of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in St James's. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a St James's conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a St James's property is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 73.26 years.
Are there frequently found deficiencies that you encounter in leases for St James's properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in St James's. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- 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 difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.