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Frequently asked questions relating to Greenford leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to let out our Greenford basement flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Greenford conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Greenford 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 have recently realised that I have Fifty years remaining on my lease in Greenford. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Greenford.

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Greenford.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a quarterly service charge demand – what should I do?

It best that you clear the service charge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Greenford both have about forty five years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Greenford is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 premises 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 Greenford conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 any new 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 am employed by a long established estate agency in Greenford where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Greenford conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

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. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Greenford conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to make a decision on the price.

An example of a lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Greenford residence is 25 Beechwood Avenue in November 2012. the Tribunal accordingly determined that the premium for the lease extension should be £24,353. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 58.19 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Greenford