Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in St James:

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Common questions relating to St James leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to let out our St James basement flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We used a St James conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

The lease governs relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in St James do not prevent subletting altogether – 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 tenancy agreement.

I am hoping to complete next month on a studio apartment in St James. Conveyancing solicitors assured me that they will have a report out to me on Monday. What should I be looking out for?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in St James should include some of the following:

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • Setting out your rights in respect of the communal areas in the block.For example, does the lease grant a right of way over a path or staircase?
  • Are you allowed to have a pet in the flat?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice?
  • What you can do if a neighbour breach a clause of their lease? For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in St James please enquire of your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in St James

  • I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in St James. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in St James ?

    Most houses in St James are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in St James in which case you should be looking for a St James conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold house in St James. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    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. 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).

    Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in St James with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in St James can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • Many freeholders or Management Companies in St James charge for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in St James.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in St James state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. If you fail to have the approvals to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in advance.
  • Some St James leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a St James conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share is needed, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I am the proprietor of a first flat in St James. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for the purchase of the freehold?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the LVT to arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a St James premises 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 affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 56 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St James