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Ascot leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am intending to rent out my leasehold apartment in Ascot. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?

Your lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Ascot do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

Looking forward to sign contracts shortly on a studio apartment in Ascot. Conveyancing solicitors inform me that they report fully next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Ascot should include some of the following:

  • Setting out your legal entitlements in relation to common areas in the building.For example, does the lease grant a right of way over a path or staircase?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a reserve fund?
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide.
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice?
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building
  • What you can do if a neighbour breach a clause of their lease? For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Ascot please ask your lawyer in advance of your conveyancing in Ascot

  • I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Ascot where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Ascot conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

    Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

    Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

    Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Ascot conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

    When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Ascot conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Ascot conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:

    • What volume of lease extensions has the firm conducted in Ascot in the last twenty four months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Ascot who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Ascot with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Ascot can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
    • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Ascot levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Ascot.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming formality and delays many a Ascot conveyancing transaction. If a reissued share certificate is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I inherited a ground floor flat in Ascot, conveyancing formalities finalised 4 years ago. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Similar flats in Ascot with over 90 years remaining are worth £209,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 charged once a year. The lease runs out on 21st October 2076

    With 56 years unexpired the likely cost is going to span between £26,600 and £30,800 as well as costs.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we are not able to provide a more accurate figure without more detailed investigations. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other 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 based on this information without first getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Ascot