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Questions and Answers: St Ives leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our St Ives 1st floor flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a St Ives conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in St Ives do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years unexpired on my lease in St Ives. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist may be useful to try and locate and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering St Ives.

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in St Ives.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a St Ives conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a St Ives conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with several firms including non St Ives conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in St Ives who can give a testimonial?

  • We expect to complete the disposal of our £150000 apartment in St Ives in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £324 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in St Ives?

    For most leasehold sales in St Ives conveyancing will involve, questions about 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 Ives
    • 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 Ives leasehold property is £350. For St Ives 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 invested in buying a 1 bedroom flat in St Ives, conveyancing formalities finalised 7 years ago. How much will my lease extension cost? Similar properties in St Ives with an extended lease are worth £213,000. The ground rent is £55 charged once a year. The lease finishes on 21st October 2087

    You have 67 years unexpired the likely cost is going to range between £11,400 and £13,200 as well as professional fees.

    The figure that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs in the absence of detailed investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you take any other action placing reliance on this information without first getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St Ives