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Sample questions relating to Battle leasehold conveyancing

I would like to sublet my leasehold flat in Battle. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

A lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Battle do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I have recently realised that I have 72 years unexpired on my flat in Battle. I now wish to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the lessor. On the whole a specialist may be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Battle.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Battle both have about 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Battle is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, 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 Battle conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Battle. 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 owner 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. It is an essential part 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).

Are there frequently found deficiencies that you come across in leases for Battle properties?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Battle. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
  • Insurance obligations
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Lloyds TSB Bank, Skipton Building Society, and Barclays Direct all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

Battle Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

    Best to be warned if fixing the lift or some other major work is anticipated that will be shared by the tenants and will materially increase the the maintenance costs or require a one off payment. How much is the ground rent and service charge? The prefered form of lease arrangement is where the freehold interest is owned by the leaseholders. In this arrangement the tenants enjoy control and although a managing agent is often employed where it is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Battle