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Church End leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I would like to rent out my leasehold apartment in Church End. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Some leases for properties in Church End do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to 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.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Church End. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the lessor. On the whole a specialist would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Church End.

I have just appointed agents to market my basement flat in Church End.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is pay the invoice 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 management companies 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 work for a long established estate agent office in Church End where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Church End conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 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 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 purchaser.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Church End from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Church End can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
  • A minority of Church End leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the yearly 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a new share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Church End home move. If a reissued share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Having spent months of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Church End. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    if there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to make a decision on the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Church End flat is Ground Floor 110 Station Road in June 2013. The Tribunal found that the premium payable for a lease extension should be £31,665. This case affected 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 56.65 years.