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Top Five Questions relating to Chingford leasehold conveyancing

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

A small minority of properties in Chingford 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 permission.

Looking forward to complete next month on a studio apartment in Chingford. Conveyancing solicitors inform me that they will have a report out to me next week. What should I be looking out for?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Chingford should include some of the following:

  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • Does the lease prevent you from subletting the property, or working from home
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames
  • What the implications are if you breach a clause of your lease? For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Chingford please ask your conveyancer in advance of your conveyancing in Chingford

  • I work for a busy estate agency in Chingford where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Chingford conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence 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 proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with 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.

    Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Chingford from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Chingford can be reduced if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Chingford state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such works. If you fail to have the consents in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in advance.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a Chingford home move. If a duplicate share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is important 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.

  • I own a ground-floor 1950’s flat in Chingford. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium payable for a lease extension?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement 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 determine the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Chingford property is 201 & 201a St. Barnabas Road in October 2013. The Tribunal decided that the price to be paid by the Applicants for the freehold interest is £20,071. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 69.26 years.

    Are there frequently found defects that you encounter in leases for Chingford properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Chingford is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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 may encounter 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. Birmingham Midshires, The Mortgage Works, and Britannia all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chingford