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Questions and Answers: Harold Hill leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to rent out our Harold Hill garden flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Harold Hill conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Harold Hill do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 62 years remaining on my lease in Harold Hill. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent may be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Harold Hill.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Harold Hill. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Harold Hill ?

The majority of houses in Harold Hill are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Harold Hill so you should seriously consider looking for a Harold Hill conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Harold Hill conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Harold Hill conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Harold Hill conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Harold Hill with the intention of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harold Hill can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Harold Hill state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. If you dont have the consents to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • Some Harold Hill leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the annual 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 solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Harold Hill. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to decide the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Harold Hill premises is 37 Lodge Court High Street in November 2013. the decision of the LVT was that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £25,559 This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 57.5 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harold Hill