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Questions and Answers: Hove leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Hove. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Hove - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

My wife and I may need to let out our Hove 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Hove conveyancing firm in 2004 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?

Your lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Hove do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years left on my lease in Hove. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

If 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 enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Hove.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Hove both have about 50 years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?

A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Hove what are the most frequent lease problems?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Hove. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • Insurance obligations
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Lloyds TSB Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Britannia all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

Leasehold Conveyancing in Hove - Sample of Queries before Purchasing

    Does the lease include onerous restrictions? The majority of Hove leasehold properties will have a service bill for the upkeep of the block levied by the freeholder. Where you acquire the flat you will have to pay this contribution, usually quarterly accross the year. This can vary from a couple of hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for bigger purpose-built buildings. There will also be a ground rent for you to pay yearly, normally this is not a significant sum, say approximately £25-£75 but you need to enquire it because on occasion it could be prohibitively expensive. How many of the leaseholders are in arrears for their service charge payments?

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Hove