Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Canning Town:

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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Canning Town

My fiance and I may need to rent out our Canning Town ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Canning Town conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Canning Town do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Canning Town. Am I liable to pay 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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Canning Town where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Canning Town conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 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 disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Canning Town with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Canning Town can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Canning Town leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such changes. Should you dont have the approvals to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • A minority of Canning Town leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • 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 reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge 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 present the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • After years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Canning Town. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Canning Town flat 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 affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 69.77 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Canning Town what are the most frequent lease defects?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Canning Town. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
    • 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 primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Barnsley Building Society, and TSB all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Canning Town