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Crowthorne leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I want to sublet my leasehold apartment in Crowthorne. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

A small minority of properties in Crowthorne do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience dictates 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 have recently realised that I have Fifty years left on my lease in Crowthorne. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent should 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 solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Crowthorne.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Crowthorne. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation 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).

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Crowthorne where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Crowthorne conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start 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 sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 buyer.

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

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Crowthorne conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Crowthorne conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm conducted in Crowthorne in the last 12 months?

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Crowthorne - Sample of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      How long is the Lease? The answer will be helpful as a) areas could result in problems in the block as the common areas may begin to deteriorate if maintenance remain unpaid b) if the leasehold owners have a dispute with the running of the building you will want to have full disclosure Does the lease include onerous restrictions?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Crowthorne