How can we help you?

Some questions we are frequently asked are given below, with our answers. We hope that this is helpful but please feel free to contact us at the Estate Office if you require further information or assistance.

My lease says that rent is due on the usual quarter days. What are these?

The usual quarter days are 25 March, 24 June, 29 September and 25 December. Rent demands are generally sent out around four weeks before the due date. Interest is usually chargeable on late rent payments – see your lease for details.

I have a query about a rent payment.

Please contact the Estate Office on +44 (0)20 7636 2885. It will help us to answer your enquiry if you have our reference and the invoice number to hand when you phone.

Can I pay my rent by Direct Debit, standing order, BACS, etc?

Yes. The Estate’s bank details can be obtained from the Estate Office. Please ensure that you instruct your bank to use your name and property address as the payment reference so that we can allocate it correctly when it is received.

I am a long lease holder & want to make alterations to my property. What is the correct procedure?
Most leases prohibit structural alterations and may permit other works with landlord’s consent. Many of the Estate’s buildings are listed and you may therefore need listed building consent and/or planning consent. We recommend that you consult the Estate’s Building Department about any proposed alterations early on in the process. Our experience of dealing with these buildings may be helpful and early discussion with us could save you abortive time and expense.  
Depending on the nature and extent of works proposed, the Estate’s consent (if granted) may be by exchange of letters or by formal licence. Provisions for reinstatement at the end of your lease may be included.
I am a long leaseholder & want to sub-let my property. What is the procedure?

You should check the precise terms of your lease and, if you plan to go ahead, consult your solicitor. All leases contain specific provisions about sub-letting. It is advisable to consult the Estate Office early in the process.

I am a residential long leaseholder & I understand that I have the right to extend my lease. How do I go about doing this & how much will it cost?
The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended) introduced the right for qualifying leaseholders of flats to acquire a 90 year lease extension on payment of a premium. The basic criteria for qualification are that your original lease should be a long lease at a low rent and that you should have been the leaseholder for at least 2 years at the time of your application for an extension.  You should consult your solicitor for full advice as to whether you qualify - the Estate cannot advise you on this.
To make a claim, a formal Notice of Claim must be served on the Estate - your solicitor will be able to do this for you.  You may need to take valuation advice, as the Notice must state the premium you offer for the extension.
Our solicitors will ascertain whether the claim is valid. If it is, our valuers will carry out their own valuation and will then negotiate a settlement figure with you or your valuer.  When this is agreed, the new lease will be granted.
Please note, that we cannot give any prior indication of how much the premium will be. This depends on a variety of factors, including the date the Notice is served, the market value of the flat and the state of the residential market as at the valuation date.  You must take your own advice on values.
You should also note that the Estate's legal and valuation costs in connection with the lease extension process are payable by the claimant.
I want to make alterations to my property. What is the correct procedure?

Most leases prohibit structural alterations and may permit other works with landlord’s consent. Many of the Estate’s buildings are listed and you may therefore need listed building consent and/or planning consent. We recommend that you consult the Estate’s Building Department about any proposed alterations early on in the process.  Our experience of dealing with these buildings may be helpful and early discussion with us could save you abortive time and expense.  

Depending on the nature and extent of works proposed, the Estate’s consent (if granted) may be by exchange of letters or by formal licence. Provisions for reinstatement at the end of your lease may be included.

I want to sub-let part of my property. What is the procedure?

You should check the precise terms of your lease and, if you plan to go ahead, consult your solicitor. All leases contain specific provisions about sub-letting. It is advisable to consult the Estate Office early in the process.

I want to place a business name plate outside my property. What is the procedure?

Consult the Estate Office early on with details of what you propose. Planning or listed building consent may be required. Landlord's consent will normally be dealt with by way of exchange of correspondence.

My premises are getting too small or too large for my business, but my lease still has some years to run. What can I do?

Consult the Estate Office. We are always happy to discuss property issues with our tenants and it may be possible for us to find suitable alternative accommodation for you on the Estate and to negotiate an early release from your current lease.

I have a full repairing lease. Why does the Estate carry out external decorations and then re-charge the cost to me?

Almost all of our commercial leases reserve this right to the Estate, with a three yearly redecoration cycle. The reason for this is to ensure that Estate properties are maintained in good decorative order and repair. Where possible we try to redecorate blocks of property in the same year to maintain consistency of appearance. There can also be economies of scale arising from this, which is passed on to tenants. Many tenants do not have the expertise or the time to get involved with organising and supervising external decorations and welcome having this done for them.  

I understand that I will be liable for dilapidations at the end of my lease. What exactly does this mean?

At the end of your lease you are required to yield up the property in accordance with the repairing obligations within the lease. The technical term for this is dilapidations.  Within the last six months or so of your lease we will usually arrange for a dilapidations survey to be carried out and a full list of all repairs required to comply with the lease obligations will be prepared. What happens next depends on whether you are renewing your lease or vacating the property. You have the right to carry out the dilapidations works yourself, but in many cases tenants prefer to negotiate a financial settlement.  In most cases your lease makes you responsible for the cost of the dilapidations survey.

Business Rates. Who decides the amount of my business rates?

Rating assessments are made by the Valuation Office Agency every five years. The most recent one took effect on 1 April 2010. You will be able to find details of your rating assessment and how it has been assessed on the Valuation Office Agency website (www.voa.gov.uk). The Uniform Business Rate which is applied against the rateable value is set by central government but is collected by the local authority.  Business rates are an obligation that usually falls on the occupier of the property.

Estate Gardens. I am aware the Bedford Square Garden is private. How can I obtain a key?

We have a key holder scheme which is available to local residents and businesses for a modest annual fee. The current charge for residential users is £75 plus VAT. Charges for business users vary according to the size of the business and number of keys allocated. Go to the Garden Squares page for further information or contact the Estate Office.

I would like to hold a party or other function in one of the Estate's gardens. What is available and how can I do this?

We have two private gardens that can be hired for functions – Bedford Square Garden and Montague Street Garden (go to the Garden Squares page for further information).  Rates vary according to the size, type and duration of function and a number of restrictions may apply, particularly with regard to noise and timing issues. Please refer to the Estate Office for further information. We will be delighted to discuss your requirements.

Why isn't Bedford Square Garden open to the public?

It has been a private space maintained at the Estate’s expense for many years. Local residents and businesses can obtain access through our key holder scheme. One of the main attractions of the garden is precisely the fact that it is private and not extensively used and its character would be considerably changed if it was open for general and unrestricted access by the public.