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Harmondsworth leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My wife and I may need to let out our Harmondsworth ground floor flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We used a Harmondsworth conveyancing practice in 2002 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?

Some leases for properties in Harmondsworth do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review 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 permission.

I own a leasehold house in Harmondsworth. Conveyancing and HSBC Bank mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Harmondsworth who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Harmondsworth conveyancing practitioner 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 legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in Harmondsworth which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Harmondsworth is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 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 Harmondsworth 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Harmondsworth conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Harmondsworth conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Harmondsworth conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Harmondsworth who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension work?

  • Notwithstanding our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in seeking a lease extension in Harmondsworth. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the premium.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Harmondsworth residence is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case was in relation to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69 years.

    What are the frequently found problems that you come across in leases for Harmondsworth properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Harmondsworth is not unique. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • 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 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. Birmingham Midshires, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harmondsworth