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Questions and Answers: Belvedere leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to rent out our Belvedere garden flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Belvedere conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your previous Belvedere conveyancing lawyer is no longer available you can check your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek consent via your landlord or some other party prior to subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet without first obtaining permission. The consent should not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If your lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Belvedere. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Belvedere ?

Most houses in Belvedere are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Belvedere so you should seriously consider looking for a Belvedere conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will advise you fully on all the issues.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Belvedere which have about forty five years left on the leases. should I be concerned?

There are plenty of short leases in Belvedere. The lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Belvedere from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Belvedere can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Belvedere state that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Where you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Belvedere leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is under 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete the sale of our £450000 apartment in Belvedere in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £336 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Belvedere?

    Belvedere conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not requires the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries most will be content to do so. They may charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has no option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.

    We have reached the end of our tether in seeking a lease extension in Belvedere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Belvedere conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Belvedere property is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case related to 13 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 76 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Belvedere