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East Sheen leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I only have Sixty One years unexpired on my lease in East Sheen. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the lessor. In some cases a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing East Sheen.

Back In 2002, I bought a leasehold house in East Sheen. Conveyancing and Coventry Building Society mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in East Sheen who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a East Sheen conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in East Sheen both have about forty five years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in East Sheen is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the premises. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 a residence 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 East Sheen conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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.

I work for a long established estate agency in East Sheen where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local East Sheen conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as 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 buyer.

What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a East Sheen conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a East Sheen conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you make enquires with several firms including non East Sheen conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How many lease extensions have they carried out in East Sheen in the last 12 months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in East Sheen who can give a testimonial?

  • I am the leaseholder of a first floor flat in East Sheen. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum payable for a lease extension?

    Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a East Sheen conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a East Sheen property is 19 St. Margarets Crescent in August 2010. the tribunal was of the view that the premium to be paid by the leaseholder for the freehold reversion was £51,983.00 This case related to 3 flats. The unexpired term was 66.25 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in East Sheen