Common questions relating to Lee leasehold conveyancing
Jane (my partner) and I may need to let out our Lee garden flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Lee conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in Lee do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see 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 consent.
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Lee. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in Lee are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Lee so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Lee conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor should advise you fully on all the issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Lee. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.
If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).
I am employed by a long established estate agency in Lee where we see a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Lee conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process 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 need not have 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
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 provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Lee with the purpose of expediting the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Lee can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
- The majority freeholders or managing agents in Lee levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Lee.
We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Lee. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the price.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Lee property is 18 Handen Road in April 2013. On 26 October 2012 District Judge Zimmels sitting at the Lambeth County Court made a Vesting Order that the Applicants be granted the right to acquire the freehold upon such terms and at such price determined by the LVT. The Tribunal arrived a figure of £39,535 as a valuation for the enfranchisement. This case related to 3 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 69.05 years.