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Brentford leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Helen (my wife) and I may need to sub-let our Brentford ground floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Brentford conveyancing practice in 2001 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 last Brentford conveyancing lawyer is not available you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The accepted inference is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek permission via your landlord or some other party before subletting. This means that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior permission. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably withheld. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord for their consent.

I have just appointed agents to market my basement flat in Brentford.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Brentford. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Brentford ?

Most houses in Brentford are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Brentford so you should seriously consider looking for a Brentford conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First 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 comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Brentford. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part 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).

What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Brentford conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Brentford conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Brentford conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Brentford who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the costs for lease extension conveyancing?

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in negotiating a lease extension in Brentford. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a Brentford conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Brentford property is 105 & 105A Seaford Road in July 2013. The tribunal determined that the price payable for the freehold interest in the Property was £43,985 . This sum was to be paid into Brentford County Court to enable the matter to proceed This case affected 2 flats.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Brentford