High Wycombe leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
My fiance and I may need to rent out our High Wycombe garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a High Wycombe conveyancing firm in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
Notwithstanding that your previous High Wycombe conveyancing lawyer is no longer available you can review your lease to check if you are permitted to let out the property. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek permission from your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining permission. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I am attracted to a couple of apartments in High Wycombe both have in the region of 50 years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
A lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area
I've recently bought a leasehold house in High Wycombe. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. 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).
I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in High Wycombe where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local High Wycombe conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process 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. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as 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.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a High Wycombe conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a High Wycombe conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non High Wycombe conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
High Wycombe Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should ask before buying
Please note that where the lease has no more than eighty years it will affect the value of the apartment. It is worth checking with your mortgage company that they are content with residual term of the lease. A short lease means that you will almost definitely require a lease extension at some point and you need to have some idea of how much this would cost. For most High Wycombelease extensions you will need to own the property for a couple of years in order to be legally able to carry out a lease extension.
It would be prudent to find out if the the lease includes any onerous restrictions in the lease. For instance it is very common in High Wycombe leases that pets are not permitted in in a block in High Wycombe. If you like the flatin High Wycombe but your dog is not allowed to make the move with you then you will be presented with a hard compromise.
Generally speaking the cost for major works tend not to be wrapped into the service charges, albeit that a few managing agents in High Wycombe obliged leaseholders to contribute towards a sinking fund created for the specific intention of building a fund for major repairs or maintenance.