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Elephant and Castle leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Elephant and Castle. Before I get started I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Elephant and Castle - 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.

I want to sublet my leasehold apartment in Elephant and Castle. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

A small minority of properties in Elephant and Castle do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests 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 employed by a long established estate agent office in Elephant and Castle where we see a few flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Elephant and Castle conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that 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 proposed purchaser 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £150000 garden flat in Elephant and Castle in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £408 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 Elephant and Castle?

Elephant and Castle conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally requires the buyer’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be content to do so. They are at liberty levy a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it exceeds £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to complete the sale of your home.

I own a first flat in Elephant and Castle. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?

You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Elephant and Castle conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Elephant and Castle flat is Ground Floor Flat 39 Bronsart Road in May 2010. Following a vesting order by West London County Court the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal concluded that the price to be paid for the extended lease of the premises was Thirteen Thousand Two hundred pounds (£13,200) in accordance with the valuation. The extended lease was granted for a term of 90 years from the expiry date of the Lease and at a peppercorn ground rent from the date of the vesting order. This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 74.77 years.

What makes a Elephant and Castle lease defective?

Leasehold conveyancing in Elephant and Castle is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
  • 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

You will encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Nationwide Building Society, Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.