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Questions and Answers: Beckton leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Beckton 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Beckton conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Beckton do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Beckton. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Beckton ?

The majority of houses in Beckton are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Beckton in which case you should be shopping around for a Beckton conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Beckton both have about forty five years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is generally wise to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I work for a reputable estate agent office in Beckton where we see a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Beckton conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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 for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Beckton with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Beckton can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Beckton charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Beckton.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and delays many a Beckton conveyancing transaction. If a reissued share is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I inherited a a ground floor purpose built flat in Beckton. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?

    if there is a absentee landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Beckton residence is 46 Credon Road in January 2014. On 11 September 2013 Deputy District Judge Price sitting at the Bow County Court made a vesting order that the freeholder surrender his lease and be granted a new lease of the Premises on such terms as may be determined by the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).The appropriate sum as concluded by the Tribunal was £7225 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69.77 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Beckton