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Top Five Questions relating to Lewisham leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Lewisham. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Lewisham - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I wish to rent out my leasehold apartment in Lewisham. 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 Lewisham conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the premises. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to seek consent from your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.

I own a leasehold house in Lewisham. Conveyancing and Halifax mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Lewisham who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Lewisham conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am looking at a two flats in Lewisham which have approximately 50 years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Lewisham is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. The majority of buyers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive 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 property 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 Lewisham 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.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Lewisham. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 own a second floor flat in Lewisham. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the price payable.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a Lewisham property is 73 Walerand Road in August 2012. the result of the findings of the Tribunal led to a premium to be paid for the extended lease in respect of Flat 73 in the sum of £10,040. The premium applicable in respect of Flat 85 was £5,710. This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 72 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Lewisham