Questions and Answers: North Finchley leasehold conveyancing
I wish to sublet my leasehold flat in North Finchley. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?
Even though your previous North Finchley conveyancing lawyer is not around you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The rule is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you must obtain consent from your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining consent. The consent should not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If your lease prohibits you from letting out the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in North Finchley. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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 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 agency in North Finchley where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local North Finchley conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?
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 proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 sale.
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 purchaser.
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in North Finchley from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in North Finchley can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
- Some North Finchley leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The 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.
I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a North Finchley conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a North Finchley property is Flat 2 2 Netherfield Road in April 2010. The Tribunale held that premium payable for a 90 year extension to the existing Lease should be £7,705. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 76 years.
Are there common defects that you see in leases for North Finchley properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in North Finchley. All leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Chelsea Building Society, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.