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Brampton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My wife and I may need to sub-let our Brampton ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Brampton conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Brampton do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

Looking forward to complete next month on a studio apartment in Brampton. Conveyancing solicitors inform me that they will have a report out to me next week. What should I be looking out for?

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

  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • Does the lease prevent you from subletting the property, or working from home
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • 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
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames
  • What the implications are if you breach a clause of your lease? For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Brampton please ask your conveyancer in advance of your conveyancing in Brampton

  • I work for a busy estate agency in Brampton where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Brampton conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

    As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence 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 wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

    An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

    Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Brampton from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Brampton can be reduced if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Brampton state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such works. If you fail to have the consents in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in advance.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a Brampton home move. If a duplicate share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • What are the frequently found deficiencies that you see in leases for Brampton properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Brampton. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Virgin Money, and Nottingham Building Society all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Brampton Leasehold Conveyancing - Examples of Questions you should consider before buying

      Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability? What prohibitions are there in the Brampton Lease? Who manages the block?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Brampton