Top Five Questions relating to Blackwall leasehold conveyancing
I wish to rent out my leasehold apartment in Blackwall. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?
Even though your previous Blackwall conveyancing solicitor is not around you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to seek consent from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet in the absence of first obtaining permission. The consent should not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Blackwall. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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 be sure 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 employed by a busy estate agent office in Blackwall where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Blackwall conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner 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 can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
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 purchaser.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Blackwall conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Blackwall conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Blackwall conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in Blackwall in the last twenty four months?
Notwithstanding our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Blackwall. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Blackwall conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Blackwall premises is 12, 14 & 16 Hull Close in May 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold to the subject premises was the sum of £18,300 This case was in relation to 3 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 101.61 years.
What makes a Blackwall lease problematic?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Blackwall. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Leeds Building Society, and TSB all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.