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Questions and Answers: Catford leasehold conveyancing

I want to let out my leasehold flat in Catford. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Notwithstanding that your last Catford conveyancing lawyer is not around you can check your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to obtain permission from your landlord or some other party prior to subletting. This means that you cannot sublet in the absence of first obtaining consent. The consent should not be unreasonably turned down. If the lease prohibits you from letting out the property you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I have recently realised that I have 62 years remaining on my flat in Catford. I now wish to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent should be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Catford.

I own a leasehold house in Catford. Conveyancing and Accord Mortgages Ltd mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Catford who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Catford conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Catford where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Catford conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start 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 start 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 has to be done prior to, 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 buyer.

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Catford conveyancing firm to help?

Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Catford conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Catford flat is 44 Elmer Road in January 2013. The Tribunal dacied that amount to be paid by the Leaseholders for the Landlords freehold reversion was £12,951 as at the valuation date (20" September 2012).This matter was referred back to the Bromley County Court to deal with costs, fees and any other outstanding matters. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 74.25 years.

What makes a Catford lease unacceptable for security purposes?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Catford. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
  • A duty to insure the building
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

You will 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. Lloyds TSB Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Barclays Direct all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Catford