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Top Five Questions relating to Locksbottom leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to sub-let our Locksbottom garden flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We used a Locksbottom conveyancing firm 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?

Even though your previous Locksbottom conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can check your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the property. The rule is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must seek permission from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior consent. The consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord for their consent.

I have just started marketing my garden flat in Locksbottom.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am looking at a two flats in Locksbottom which have approximately 50 years left on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Locksbottom is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than eighty 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 property 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 a residence 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 Locksbottom conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Locksbottom where we see a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Locksbottom conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to 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 has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 purchaser.

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Locksbottom conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

Where there is a absentee 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 First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the premium.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Locksbottom 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 unexpired term was 50.57 years.

Are there common defects that you witness in leases for Locksbottom properties?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Locksbottom. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, The Mortgage Works, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.