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Top Five Questions relating to Morden leasehold conveyancing

I want to let out my leasehold flat in Morden. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

Your lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will say if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Morden do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Morden. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Morden are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Morden in which case you should be looking for a Morden conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

I own a leasehold flat in Morden. Conveyancing and Nationwide Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Morden who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Morden conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am employed by a long established estate agency in Morden where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Morden conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that 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. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Morden from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Morden can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Morden levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Morden.
  • A minority of Morden leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming process and delays many a Morden conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I have had difficulty in negotiating a lease extension in Morden. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Morden premises is 14 Nutwell Street in January 2014. The premium payable for the acquisition of a new lease of the subject premises was in the sum of £30,523 This case related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 62.94 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Morden