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Bracknell leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I want to rent out my leasehold flat in Bracknell. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Notwithstanding that your previous Bracknell conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can check your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you must seek permission from your landlord or other appropriate person prior to subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior consent. Such consent must not not be unreasonably turned down. If your lease prohibits you from letting out the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Bracknell. Conveyancing and Aldermore mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Bracknell who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Bracknell conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Bracknell where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Bracknell conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is 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 extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 choosing a Bracknell conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Bracknell conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Bracknell conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Bracknell who can give a testimonial?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Bracknell with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bracknell can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Bracknell leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. Where you dont have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some Bracknell leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy process and slows down many a Bracknell conveyancing deal. If a new share certificate is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Bracknell - Examples of Questions you should consider Prior to Purchasing

      Many Bracknell leasehold apartments will be liable to pay a service bill for maintenance of the block invoiced by the management company. Where you purchase the property you will have to pay this contribution, normally periodically accross the year. This may be anything from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large communal grounds. There will also be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, normally this is not a significant figure, say approximately £25-£75 but you should to enquire as sometimes it could be prohibitively expensive. On the whole the outlay for major works tend not to be built into the maintenance charges, albeit that there some managing agents in Bracknell ask leasehold owners to pay into a sinking fund created for the specific intention of building a fund for major repairs or maintenance. How long is the Lease?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Bracknell