Helping you with the legal pitfalls of the property business
We can help you with:
- Grants of Leases
- Deeds of Variation
- Leasehold Enfranchisement including lease extensions and collective freehold purchases (outside the statutory procedure)
The lease relating to your apartment or maisonette is a complicated document. When preparing a lease, it is critical for you that it accurately itemise the rights, responsibilities and interests of both the landlord and the tenant.
At A K Gulati & Co we can prepare new leases for you. We can also advise tenants on the lease of the property they will be renting. When a leasehold property is bought, the lease must be meticulously examined to make sure it is not defective. At A K Gulati & Co a lawyer with expertise in the area will check your lease and advise you if they feel that it may be inadequate and on any appropriate remedies. This can often be solved with either a Deed of Variation, usually requested by a tenant, or an insurance policy to cover the defects. Deeds of Variation can be expensive though as the landlord has no obligation to agree the changes and will often ask for a premium.
Typically leases vary between 99 and 125 years, or even a long 999 years. Leases, therefore, decrease in value over time; when the remaining term nears 80 years, extending the lease becomes an issue. Depending on the type of landlord, it can take a varying amount of time and finance to obtain the lease extension, although guidelines on the premium to be paid do exist. We advise landlords and tenants about the lease extension process.
Protection of Investment
We can help you with investment assurance through asset protection, particularly:
- Declarations of Trust
- Legal charges/Mortgages
It is vital you ensure you have a legal instrument that reflects the interest you hold in a property
There are many ways of accomplishing this, depending on the manner of your investment and interest.
Parents often lend their child the equivalent of the deposit on their first home purchase, to make it easier for them to jump on the housing ladder. Adding a legal charge to the Property Register of the title at the Land Registry can protect your contribution by ensuring it has legal recognition.
Declaration of Trust
You may have contributed money to a purchase but not be a legal owner. You may well wish to record your contributions to the purchase. This is a good way or protecting yourself, especially if you are unmarried. It will also help years later when memories are vague on the original purchase arrangements. You may agree between you to share in any profit on future sale proportionate to your contribution. This can all be recorded in a Deed (or Declaration) of Trust.
If you are in possession of land for which there exists no documentary title, you may be able to apply to the Land Registry for possessory title based on adverse possession.
At the outset, in most situations, we will give you a quotation (not an estimate).
Property and the Elderly
We can help you with:
- Home reversion schemes
- Equity release schemes
- Retirement homes
Elderly who cannot cope on their limited incomes sometimes use home reversion or equity release schemes. This enables them to remain in their home, and yet have the benefit of capital they have built up over the years. The financial outcome for the elderly person will be a lump sum, or regular income, or combination of the two.
In a home reversion you swap your ownership of your property (or part of it) for a tenancy, whereas the mechanism of an equity release scheme is the agreement of a mortgage over your property.
You need to consider matters very carefully, if you are thinking about home reversion or equity release. You are surrendering partial control over your property to someone you do not know, and the scheme can deplete the estate you will eventually leave your loved ones.
At A K Gulati & Co we will ensure you are fully informed of the ramifications of taking up a scheme.
We are also experienced in advising on retirement schemes. If you are selling, often a portion of the sale value must be remitted to the landlord. If you are a buyer, we will ensure you are up to speed on potential penalties and occupancy restrictions.
Family Property Transfers
We can assist you with:
- Gifts of property
- Transfers of equity
- Legal charges as part of matrimonial proceedings consent orders
There are many scenarios where property is transferred between family members: death, divorce, separation, tax planning and so on. After a divorce or separation, one former partner will normally buy out the other’s interest, whereas property will be gifted on death or for tax planning purposes.
Transfers within the family are not quite as simple as they sound and can be problematic. Seeking early legal advice will ensure you do not face unexpected charges or Inheritance Tax demands further down the line. Our Wills, Probate & Tax Planning Team will expertly advise you on your wills, and on the tax implications of proposed transfers.
We do not expect our children to die before us. We dare not even entertain the thought. However, if you do transfer property to a child who dies before you, you need to be aware that this will pass as part of their own estate to their own beneficiaries in their will or, failing that, their next of kin.
If you have transferred your property to one of your children who then divorces, half their share may be lost to their ex-partner when transferred as part of the divorce settlement. If you are still living in the property and your son or daughter cannot afford to buy out their ex-partner then your home may need to be sold.
Any gift of property you make within a five-year period of your own subsequent bankruptcy may be clawed back by a trustee in bankruptcy therefore reversing your gift.
If you transfer your home to someone who later becomes bankrupt, you may find the trustee in bankruptcy seeking out their share in the property.