Questions and Answers: Morden leasehold conveyancing
My fiance and I may need to let out our Morden ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Morden conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in Morden do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.
I have recently realised that I have Seventy years remaining on my lease in Morden. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?
If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. In some cases a specialist should be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Morden.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Morden which have about fifty years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Morden is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. 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 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 premises 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 Morden 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 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 Morden. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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 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).
If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £325000 maisonette in Morden in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £396 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Morden?
Morden conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often requires the buyer’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They may levy a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is above £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.
Despite our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Morden. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
if there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the price.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Morden flat 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 remaining number of years on the lease was 62.94 years.