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Common questions relating to White City leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in White City. Before diving in I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in White City - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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.

My fiance and I may need to let out our White City 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a White City conveyancing firm in 2001 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?

Notwithstanding that your previous White City conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can review your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you must obtain consent via your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior consent. The consent must not not be unreasonably turned down. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.

I own a leasehold flat in White City. Conveyancing and Leeds Building Society mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in White City who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a White City conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in White City. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in White City where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local White City conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the purchaser.

I am the registered owner of a ground floor flat in White City. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for a lease extension?

Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to judgment on the sum to be paid.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a White City residence is 23 & 23A Collingbourne Road in June 2013. Tribunal was dealing with the assessment of the value of the freehold reversion and determination of the terms of the acquisition pursuant to an Order of District Judge Lightman dated 25 February 2013 vesting the freehold interest in the property in the applicant. The tribunal assessed the price of the freehold (to which any arrears or other sums due to the missing landlord under the leases should be added) at £81,638. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 64.5 years.