Questions and Answers: Clapton leasehold conveyancing
My wife and I may need to let out our Clapton garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Clapton conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Notwithstanding that your last Clapton conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to seek consent from your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior permission. Such consent should not be unreasonably turned down. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Clapton. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Clapton ?
The majority of houses in Clapton are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Clapton in which case you should be shopping around for a Clapton conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will advise you fully on all the issues.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Clapton which have about 50 years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Clapton 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 salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 Clapton conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.
I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Clapton where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Clapton conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 purchaser.
Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Clapton from the perspective of expediting the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Clapton can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
- Some Clapton leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
I am the proprietor of a ground-floor 1960’s flat in Clapton. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium payable for a lease extension?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the amount due.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Clapton flat is 104 Nightingale Road in May 2009. The Tribunal's Decision is that the premium torbe paid for the enfranchisement in this case is £112,174 This case related to 10 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 71.25 years.