Common questions relating to Brixton leasehold conveyancing
My fiance and I may need to sub-let our Brixton ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Brixton conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in Brixton do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see 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 have recently realised that I have 72 years left on my lease in Brixton. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. For most situations a specialist may be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Brixton.
I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Brixton. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Brixton are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Brixton so you should seriously consider looking for a Brixton conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor should appraise you on the various issues.
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Brixton where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Brixton conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that 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 buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is 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.
I inherited a first flat in Brixton. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount due for the purchase of the freehold?
if there is a missing freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the sum to be paid.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Brixton property is 66 Southwell Road in March 2012. By Order of Deputy District Judge Stone dated 25 January 2012 a vesting order was made. The determination of the purchase price was referred to the Tribunal who decided that the amount payable for the freehold should be£29,612.00 This case related to 3 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 72.58 years.
What makes a Brixton lease unacceptable for security purposes?
Leasehold conveyancing in Brixton is not unique. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
- 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
A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have very detailed requirements 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 provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.