Questions and Answers: Cowley leasehold conveyancing
Harry (my fiance) and I may need to sub-let our Cowley 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Cowley conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Even though your previous Cowley conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to seek consent from your landlord or some other party before subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining consent. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If your lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I've found a house that seems to be perfect, 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 particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Cowley. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Cowley ?
Most houses in Cowley are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Cowley in which case you should be looking for a Cowley conveyancing solicitor 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. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should appraise you on the various issues.
I work for a reputable estate agent office in Cowley where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Cowley conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 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 needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
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 purchaser.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Cowley conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Cowley conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Cowley conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Cowley from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cowley can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
- A minority of Cowley leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, 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 financially capable of paying 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
We have reached the end of our tether in negotiating a lease extension in Cowley. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or where 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 Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the amount due.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Cowley residence is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case affected 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69 years.