Questions and Answers: Kennington leasehold conveyancing
I am intending to let out my leasehold apartment in Kennington. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?
Even though your previous Kennington conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you need to obtain permission via your landlord or other appropriate person prior to subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.
I have recently realised that I have 72 years remaining on my lease in Kennington. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?
On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Kennington.
I work for a reputable estate agency in Kennington where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Kennington conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
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.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Kennington conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Kennington conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Kennington conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Kennington conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?
You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a Kennington conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Kennington flat is Ground Floor Flat 39 Bronsart Road in May 2010. Following a vesting order by West London County Court the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal concluded that the price to be paid for the extended lease of the premises was Thirteen Thousand Two hundred pounds (£13,200) in accordance with the valuation. The extended lease was granted for a term of 90 years from the expiry date of the Lease and at a peppercorn ground rent from the date of the vesting order. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 74.77 years.
What are the frequently found deficiencies that you encounter in leases for Kennington properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Kennington. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Skipton Building Society, and Clydesdale all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.