Questions and Answers: Shard End leasehold conveyancing
My partner and I may need to rent out our Shard End 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Shard End 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?
A lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Shard End do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.
I only have 68 years unexpired on my lease in Shard End. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?
On the basis that 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 magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. On the whole a specialist may be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Shard End.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Shard End. Conveyancing and Yorkshire Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Shard End who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Shard End conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Shard End which have in the region of fifty years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Shard End is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Shard End conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Shard End. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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).
Shard End Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries before buying
Many Shard End leasehold flats will incur a service bill for the upkeep of the building set by the landlord. If you buy the property you will have to meet this charge, usually in instalments throughout the year. This may vary from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for large purpose-built blocks. In all probability there will be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, normally this is not a significant figure, say about £50-£100 but you need to enquire as sometimes it can be many hundreds of pounds.
Be sure to enquire if there are any onerous restrictions in the lease. For instance plenty of leases prohibit pets being permitted in in a block in Shard End. If you like the flatin Shard End yet your dog can’t live with you then you will be faced difficult determination.
Who are the managing agents?