Questions and Answers: Keston leasehold conveyancing
Helen (my wife) and I may need to sub-let our Keston garden flat temporarily due to a new job. We used a Keston conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Your lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Keston do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Keston. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Keston ?
The majority of houses in Keston are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Keston so you should seriously consider looking for a Keston conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.
I own a leasehold flat in Keston. Conveyancing and Virgin Money mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Keston who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Keston conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, 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 apartments in Keston both have approximately fifty years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Keston is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than 75 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 premises 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 Keston 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 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 have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Keston conveyancing firm to help?
Where there is a missing landlord or where 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 First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Keston property is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 50.57 years.
What makes a Keston lease defective?
Leasehold conveyancing in Keston is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
- 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
A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Santander, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.