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Top Five Questions relating to Morden leasehold conveyancing

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Morden basement flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Morden conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your previous Morden conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must seek permission via your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet in the absence of prior consent. Such consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If your lease prohibits you from subletting the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.

I’m about to sell my ground floor flat in Morden.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is discharge the invoice 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 managing agents 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 tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Morden which have in the region of forty five years left on the leases. should I be concerned?

A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease shortens the value of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is generally wise to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Morden where we see a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Morden conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process 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. The benefit of this is 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 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 purchaser.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Morden from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Morden can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Morden levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for 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.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Morden state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Should you dont have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer first.
  • Some Morden leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.

  • I own a garden flat in Morden. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for a lease extension?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Morden property 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 62.94 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Morden