Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham:

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Recently asked questions relating to Mottingham leasehold conveyancing

My fiance and I may need to let out our Mottingham basement flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Mottingham conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have closed 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?

The lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out 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 allowed. Most leases in Mottingham do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I am attracted to a two flats in Mottingham which have about fifty years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Mottingham is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the premises. The majority of buyers and banks, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat 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 Mottingham 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 They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed 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 am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Mottingham where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Mottingham conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. 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 buyer.

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

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • Some Mottingham leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 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 landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Mottingham home move. Where a reissued share is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your solicitors. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I am the leaseholder of a garden flat in Mottingham. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for a lease extension?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Mottingham conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Mottingham property is 49 Woodstock Court Burnt Ash Hill in May 2012. the payment of £64,116 by the leaseholder was the premium which the Tribunal found due for the lease extension in this case. This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 23.26 years.

    What makes a Mottingham lease unmortgageable?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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. Birmingham Midshires, Virgin Money, and Nottingham Building Society all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Mottingham