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Top Five Questions relating to Hanwell leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to sub-let our Hanwell 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Hanwell conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Hanwell do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience dictates 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 permission.

I own a leasehold house in Hanwell. Conveyancing and Lloyds TSB Bank mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing solicitor in Hanwell who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Hanwell conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Hanwell where we see a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Hanwell conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Hanwell from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hanwell can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Hanwell levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hanwell.
  • A minority of Hanwell leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Hanwell home move. Where a new share certificate is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your conveyancers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I am the proprietor of a first floor flat in Hanwell. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for the purchase of the freehold?

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

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Hanwell premises is 6 Jessamine Road in August 2013. The Tribunals valuation (as annexed to the decision) calculated the amount payable as £18,355 for the freehold reversion This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 72.39 years.

    What makes a Hanwell lease problematic?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Hanwell is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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 have 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, The Mortgage Works, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hanwell