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Questions and Answers: East Bedfont leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to rent out our East Bedfont garden flat for a while due to a new job. We used a East Bedfont conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Your lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in East Bedfont do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in East Bedfont.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is discharge the invoice 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 management companies 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of maisonettes in East Bedfont both have approximately 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in East Bedfont. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As the lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this field

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in East Bedfont where we have experienced a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local East Bedfont conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have 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 at the same time as 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 purchaser.

Completion in due on the sale of our £425000 garden flat in East Bedfont on Thursday in a week. The managing agents has quoted £348 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in East Bedfont?

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

  • Answering pre-exchange questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in East Bedfont
  • 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 East Bedfont leasehold premises is £350. For East Bedfont 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 obliged to supply the information.

I am the registered owner of a first floor flat in East Bedfont. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium payable for the purchase of the freehold?

Where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the price payable.

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