Common questions relating to Richmond leasehold conveyancing
Helen (my wife) and I may need to rent out our Richmond ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Richmond 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?
Some leases for properties in Richmond do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review 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 permission.
Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold house in Richmond. Conveyancing and Yorkshire Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing practitioner in Richmond who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Richmond conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I work for a busy estate agency in Richmond where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Richmond conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start 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 sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
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 purchaser.
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £400000 garden flat in Richmond next Monday . The management company has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Richmond?
Richmond conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally necessitates the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They are entitled invoice a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is above £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.
What makes a Richmond lease problematic?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Richmond. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Skipton Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions 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 grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.
I invested in buying a basement flat in Richmond, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Similar flats in Richmond with a long lease are worth £210,000. The ground rent is £50 yearly. The lease ceases on 21st October 2086
With just 65 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to be between £14,300 and £16,400 as well as costs.
The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of detailed investigations. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.