Top Five Questions relating to Harlow leasehold conveyancing
Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Harlow ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Harlow conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
A lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Harlow do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Harlow. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
In a situation 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).
Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Harlow conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Harlow conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with two or three firms including non Harlow 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 of use:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Harlow from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Harlow can be reduced if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Harlow leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you fail to have the approvals to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor first.
Are there common deficiencies that you see in leases for Harlow properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Harlow is not unique. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Barclays Direct all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Harlow - Sample of Queries Prior to buying
Make sure you investigate if there are any onerous restrictions in the lease. For example plenty of leases prohibit pets being allowed in in a block in Harlow. If you like the apartmentin Harlow however your cat can’t make the move with you then you will be presented with a hard decision.
What is the length of the lease?
It is important to be aware if redecorating or some other significant cost is pending that will be shared amongst the leaseholders and may well dramatically impact the level of the maintenance fees or require a specific invoice.