Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Custom House:

While any conveyancing practice can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in Custom House, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Frequently asked questions relating to Custom House leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Custom House. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in Custom House - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

My wife and I may need to sub-let our Custom House ground floor flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a Custom House conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Custom House do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold 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 am looking at a two maisonettes in Custom House which have in the region of forty five years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Custom House. The lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Custom House. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Custom House where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Custom House conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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. This means that the buyer 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 prior to, 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 buyer.

Despite our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Custom House. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is dispute 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 judgment on the sum to be paid.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Custom House flat is 46 Credon Road in January 2014. On 11 September 2013 Deputy District Judge Price sitting at the Bow County Court made a vesting order that the freeholder surrender his lease and be granted a new lease of the Premises on such terms as may be determined by the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).The appropriate sum as concluded by the Tribunal was £7225 This case affected 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69.77 years.