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Questions and Answers: Cubitt Town leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I may need to rent out our Cubitt Town basement flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Cubitt Town conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will say if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Cubitt Town do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Cubitt Town.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is clear the service charge 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 managing agents 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 today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Cubitt Town. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Cubitt Town are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Cubitt Town so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Cubitt Town conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent 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 house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

I own a leasehold house in Cubitt Town. Conveyancing and Lloyds TSB Bank mortgage went though with no issue. 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 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in Cubitt Town who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Cubitt Town conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Cubitt Town with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cubitt Town can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Cubitt Town levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cubitt Town.
  • A minority of Cubitt Town leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (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 you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important 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 a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 better to present the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Cubitt Town home move. Where a new share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I inherited a ground floor flat in Cubitt Town. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

    Where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Cubitt Town property is 12, 14 & 16 Hull Close in May 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold to the subject premises was the sum of £18,300 This case affected 3 flats. The unexpired term was 101.61 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Cubitt Town