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Questions and Answers: New Malden leasehold conveyancing

I am intending to rent out my leasehold flat in New Malden. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Your lease governs the relationship between the landlord and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in New Malden do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Looking forward to sign contracts shortly on a basement flat in New Malden. Conveyancing solicitors inform me that they are sending me a report next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in New Malden should include some of the following:

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • The physical extent of the property. This will be the flat itself but could also incorporate a loft or basement if appropriate.
  • Will you be prohibited or prevented from having pets in the property?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this will change in the future
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide. For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in New Malden please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in New Malden

  • I've recently bought a leasehold house in New Malden. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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).

    I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in New Malden where we see a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local New Malden conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 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 sale.

    An alternative approach is 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 buyer.

    What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a New Malden conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

    If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a New Malden conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non New Malden conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

    • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm conducted in New Malden in the last twenty four months?

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? Can you recommend a New Malden conveyancing firm to help?

    if there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a New Malden residence is Flat D 15 Claremont Gardens in September 2013. TheTribunal determined in accordance with section48 and Schedule13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease should be fourteen thousand one hundred and eighty seven pounds (£14,187.00) This case related to 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in New Malden