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Questions and Answers: Chigwell leasehold conveyancing

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

Some leases for properties in Chigwell do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review 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.

I’m about to sell my garden apartment in Chigwell.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Chigwell. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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 be sure 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).

I work for a long established estate agency in Chigwell where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Chigwell conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means 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 needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

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.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Chigwell conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Chigwell conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Chigwell 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 helpful:

  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm carried out in Chigwell in the last twenty four months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • I am the registered owner of a basement flat in Chigwell. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for a lease extension?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Chigwell flat is 201 & 201a St. Barnabas Road in October 2013. The Tribunal decided that the price to be paid by the Applicants for the freehold interest is £20,071. This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 69.26 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chigwell