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St Pancras leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My partner and I may need to let out our St Pancras garden flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a St Pancras conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in St Pancras do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years left on my lease in St Pancras. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing St Pancras.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in St Pancras. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in St Pancras are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in St Pancras so you should seriously consider shopping around for a St Pancras conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in St Pancras. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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 ensure 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).

We expect to complete the disposal of our £325000 garden flat in St Pancras in 10 days. The freeholder has quoted £300 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in St Pancras?

For the majority of leasehold sales in St Pancras conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

  • Addressing pre-exchange enquiries
  • Where consent is required before sale in St Pancras
  • Supplying insurance information
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for St Pancras leasehold property is £350. For St Pancras 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.

I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can a leaseholder apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a St Pancras conveyancing firm to assist?

You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a St Pancras conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a St Pancras premises is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.8 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in St Pancras