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Questions and Answers: Mitcham leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Mitcham. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Mitcham - 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.

My partner and I may need to let out our Mitcham basement flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Mitcham conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

The lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will set out 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. The majority of leases in Mitcham do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

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 just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Mitcham. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Mitcham are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Mitcham in which case you should be shopping around for a Mitcham 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 tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Mitcham where we see a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Mitcham conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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 buyer.

I own a a ground floor purpose built flat in Mitcham. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount due for a lease extension?

Where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the premium.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Mitcham premises is 50 & 52 Southcroft Road in September 2013. The tribunals own valuation determined that the premium payable should be £29,000 This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 86.11 and 60.64.

In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Mitcham what are the most frequent lease defects?

Leasehold conveyancing in Mitcham is not unique. All leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
  • 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 will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Barnsley Building Society, and Britannia all have express requirements 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 provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Mitcham