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Questions and Answers: Peckham leasehold conveyancing

My fiance and I may need to rent out our Peckham 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Peckham conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Even though your previous Peckham conveyancing solicitor is not available you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you must obtain consent from your landlord or some other party prior to subletting. This means that you cannot sublet without first obtaining permission. The consent should not be unreasonably withheld. If the lease prohibits you from letting out the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Peckham. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Peckham are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Peckham in which case you should be shopping around for a Peckham conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should appraise you on the various issues.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Peckham which have in the region of forty five years left on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There are plenty of short leases in Peckham. The lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Peckham. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

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 ensure 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Peckham with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Peckham can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Peckham levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Peckham.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Peckham leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. Should you dont have the approvals in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer first.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. 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 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I am the registered owner of a ground-floor 1950’s flat in Peckham. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Peckham premises is 31 Kings Grove in January 2012. By a claim form issued on 11" August 2011 under action number 1LB01618 in the Lambeth County Court the applicant tenants sought dispensation under section 26 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 from the requirement to serve a notice under section 13 of that Act in order to purchase the freehold of the premises. The Tribunal decided the amount payable for the freehold as £10,728 This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 80.5 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Peckham