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Frequently asked questions relating to Millwall leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Millwall. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Millwall - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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 want to sublet my leasehold apartment in Millwall. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Your lease governs relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Millwall do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Millwall. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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 work for a reputable estate agent office in Millwall where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Millwall conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Millwall with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Millwall can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Millwall levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Millwall.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Millwall leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Should you dont have the approvals to hand do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • A minority of Millwall leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.

  • I am the leaseholder of a ground floor flat in Millwall. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?

    in cases where there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to decide the premium.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Millwall property is 12, 14 & 16 Hull Close in May 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold to the subject premises was the sum of £18,300 This case related to 3 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 101.61 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Millwall