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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Cranham

Frank (my husband) and I may need to rent out our Cranham garden flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Cranham conveyancing practice in 2003 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?

A small minority of properties in Cranham do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience dictates 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 consent.

I work for a long established estate agent office in Cranham where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Cranham conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 buyer 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 prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Cranham conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Cranham conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Cranham conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Cranham who can give a testimonial?

  • Completion in due on our sale of a £175000 garden flat in Cranham next week. The management company has quoted £396 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Cranham?

    Cranham conveyancing on leasehold flats usually requires the purchaser’s solicitor submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries most will be willing to do so. They may levy a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is above £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has no option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    Having spent years of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Cranham. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    if there is a missing freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to make a decision on the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Cranham residence is 37 Lodge Court High Street in November 2013. the decision of the LVT was that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £25,559 This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 57.5 years.

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

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Cranham. All leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that 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 elements 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 issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Britannia all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.