Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in St James
Frank (my husband) and I may need to rent out our St James 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a St James conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in St James do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. 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 consent.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in St James. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in St James are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in St James in which case you should be shopping around for a St James conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in St James which have about 50 years remaining on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in St James is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, 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 premises 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 St James conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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 the agreed 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in St James where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local St James conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with 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.
Completion in due on the disposal of our £325000 garden flat in St James next Thursday . The landlords agents has quoted £384 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in St James?
St James conveyancing on leasehold flats usually requires the buyer’s lawyer submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to such questions most will be willing to assist. They may levy a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is above £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, otherwise the charge is technically not due. In reality you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.
My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in St James. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
if there is a absentee landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a St James residence is Flats 12A & 19, Evelyn Mansions Carlisle Place in June 2009. The Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the new lease of Flat 12A is £168,824, For the other flat the price was set at £169,110 This case related to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 56 years.