Common questions relating to St James's leasehold conveyancing
Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in St James's. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.
Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in St James's - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I have recently realised that I have 62 years left on my flat in St James's. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?
On the basis that you qualify, 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. On the whole a specialist may be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing St James's.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in St James's. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in St James's are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in St James's so you should seriously consider shopping around for a St James's conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.
I own a leasehold house in St James's. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in St James's who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
First contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a St James's conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am the proprietor of a ground-floor 1960’s flat in St James's. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for a lease extension?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to calculate the premium.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a St James's premises 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 73.26 years.
What makes a St James's lease problematic?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in St James's. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements 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
A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Virgin Money, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have express conveyancing instructions 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 grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.