Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Grahame Park:

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Grahame Park leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Frank (my husband) and I may need to rent out our Grahame Park basement flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Grahame Park conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Even though your previous Grahame Park conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can review your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must obtain permission from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet without prior permission. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If your lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Grahame Park.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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 until 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 employed by a long established estate agent office in Grahame Park where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Grahame Park conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as 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 buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, 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 buyer.

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Grahame Park conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Grahame Park conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Grahame Park conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they conducted in Grahame Park in the last year?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Grahame Park with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Grahame Park can be reduced if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Grahame Park leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you dont have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer before hand.
  • Some Grahame Park leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Grahame Park home move. Where a new share certificate is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in negotiating a lease extension in Grahame Park. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Grahame Park property is 1 & 1A Sunningfields Crescent in September 2013. The Tribunals calculation of the amount to be paid into court in respect of the value of the freehold interest is £11,997 in respect of Flat 1 and £15,781 in respect of Flat 1A for a total of £27,778. This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 71.5 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Grahame Park