Common questions relating to East London leasehold conveyancing
Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our East London basement flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a East London conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
A lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in East London do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in East London. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in East London ?
Most houses in East London are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in East London in which case you should be shopping around for a East London conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.
I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in East London where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local East London conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process 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. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 appointing a East London conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a East London conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non East London conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:
- What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in East London in the last 12 months?
Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in East London with the purpose of expediting the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in East London can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers solicitors.
- In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in East London state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer first.
Despite our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in seeking a lease extension in East London. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
in cases where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the amount due.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a East London premises is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 73.26 years.