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Questions and Answers: Epping leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I may need to let out our Epping basement flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Epping conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Epping do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

Expecting to sign contracts shortly on a ground floor flat in Epping. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they report fully within the next couple of days. What should I be looking out for?

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

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, freeholder
  • Will you be prohibited or prevented from having pets in the property?
  • You should be told what counts as a Nuisance in the lease
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your premises and do you know what it means in practice? For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Epping please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Epping

  • I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Epping. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Epping ?

    Most houses in Epping are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Epping so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Epping conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will appraise you on the various issues.

    I am attracted to a couple of flats in Epping which have about forty five years unexpired on the leases. should I be concerned?

    There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Epping 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 purchasers and banks, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive 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 Epping 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new 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 work for a busy estate agency in Epping where we see a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Epping conveyancing solicitors. 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 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 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 has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

    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.

    I inherited a leasehold flat in Epping, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Equivalent flats in Epping with an extended lease are worth £235,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £55 levied per year. The lease ceases on 21st October 2075

    With 51 years left to run the likely cost is going to be between £38,000 and £44,000 as well as legals.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Epping