Questions and Answers: Stanmore leasehold conveyancing
My partner and I may need to sub-let our Stanmore basement flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a Stanmore conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
The lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Stanmore do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
I have recently realised that I have 72 years unexpired on my flat in Stanmore. I now want to get lease extension 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 an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent should be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Stanmore.
I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Stanmore.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Stanmore. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
In a situation 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. A critical element 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).
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Stanmore conveyancing firm to represent me?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Stanmore conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Stanmore flat is 27B Hillside in February 2010. the resulting premium, all other aspects of the valuation having been agreed between the parties was set at £8,250 This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 70.25 years.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Stanmore what are the most frequent lease defects?
Leasehold conveyancing in Stanmore is not unique. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in 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 premises
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
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, Chelsea Building Society, and TSB 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 defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.