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Recently asked questions relating to Earlsfield leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold apartment in Earlsfield. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

A lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Earlsfield do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I am looking at a two maisonettes in Earlsfield which have about forty five years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Earlsfield is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Earlsfield conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Earlsfield. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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).

We expect to complete the sale of our £425000 maisonette in Earlsfield on Thursday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Earlsfield?

For the majority of leasehold sales in Earlsfield conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

  • Completing pre-contract questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in Earlsfield
  • Supplying insurance information
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Earlsfield leasehold premises is £350. For Earlsfield conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to supply the information.

We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Earlsfield. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

Where there is a missing 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 determine the price.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Earlsfield residence is 35 Trewint Street in February 2012. The Tribunal arrived at a premium of £32 425 for the freehold reversion. The matter was transferred back to the court for further consideration which required the applicants pay the premium (less any assessed costs) into court after which the court would execute a transfer of the freehold. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 70.57 years.

Are there common defects that you witness in leases for Earlsfield properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in Earlsfield is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • 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 can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Earlsfield