Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Noak Hill

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Noak Hill leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My wife and I may need to let out our Noak Hill garden flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Noak Hill conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, 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 specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Noak Hill do not prevent subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Noak Hill which have in the region of fifty years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Noak Hill is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the value of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with under 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 property 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 property 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 Noak Hill 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 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Noak Hill where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Noak Hill conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as the seller has owned the lease 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Noak Hill conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Noak Hill conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non Noak Hill conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they conducted in Noak Hill in the last year?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Noak Hill with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Noak Hill can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Noak Hill leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • Some Noak Hill 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 put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to 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 clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of 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 where the remaining number of years is under 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have given up seeking a lease extension in Noak Hill. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Noak Hill conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Noak Hill property is 37 Lodge Court High Street in November 2013. the decision of the LVT was that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £25,559 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 57.5 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Noak Hill