Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in East Bedfont:

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Questions and Answers: East Bedfont leasehold conveyancing

I would like to sublet my leasehold apartment in East Bedfont. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

Even though your previous East Bedfont conveyancing solicitor is not available you can review your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to obtain permission via your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet in the absence of prior consent. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably withheld. If your lease prohibits you from subletting the property you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in East Bedfont. Conveyancing and Nottingham Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in East Bedfont who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a East Bedfont conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in East Bedfont. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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 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).

I am employed by a busy estate agent office in East Bedfont where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local East Bedfont conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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.

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.

I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in East Bedfont. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to arrive at the price payable.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a East Bedfont premises is 147 Redford Close in June 2012. The Tribunal determined the lease extension premium to be at £4,200 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 82.93 years.

What are the common problems that you see in leases for East Bedfont properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in East Bedfont is not unique. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
  • 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 can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Aldermore all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.