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Questions and Answers: Osterley leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Osterley. Before I get started I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Osterley - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

I am intending to let out my leasehold apartment in Osterley. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

A small minority of properties in Osterley do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.

I am hoping to complete next month on a garden flat in Osterley. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they will have a report out to me next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

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

  • Does the lease require carpeting throughout thus preventing wood flooring?
  • Does the lease prevent you from renting out the flat, or working from home
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a reserve fund?
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Osterley please enquire of your lawyer in ahead of your conveyancing in Osterley

  • I work for a busy estate agency in Osterley where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Osterley conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

    As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

    Alternatively, it may be possible 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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Osterley with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Osterley can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • The majority landlords or managing agents in Osterley levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Osterley.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Osterley state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some Osterley leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay 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 prior to 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 reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.

  • I am the proprietor of a second floor flat in Osterley. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for a lease extension?

    Where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to assess the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Osterley flat is Ground Floor Flat 91 Bath Road in May 2009. in a case where the freeholder could not be traced, the Brentford County Court ordered that the Lease be surrendered in return for the grant of a new lease of the Premises at a premium determined by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal concluded that the price payable by the Applicant for the new lease of the premises be £15,900 This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 60.45 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Osterley