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South Norwood leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in South Norwood. Before diving in I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in South Norwood - 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.

My wife and I may need to sub-let our South Norwood basement flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a South Norwood conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in South Norwood do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – 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 supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I am hoping to exchange soon on a garden flat in South Norwood. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they are sending me a report next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

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

  • You should receive a copy of the lease
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • Setting out your rights in respect of common areas in the block.E.G., does the lease contain a right of way over an accessway or staircase?
  • Do you need to have carpet in the flat or are you allowed wood flooring?
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • 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 South Norwood please ask your lawyer in ahead of your conveyancing in South Norwood

  • I am attracted to a couple of apartments in South Norwood both have about forty five years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

    There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in South Norwood is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 premises 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 South Norwood 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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.

    Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in South Norwood with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in South Norwood can be reduced if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? South Norwood leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. If you dont have the paperwork in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor before hand.
  • A minority of South Norwood 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. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride 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 ahead of 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 present the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a South Norwood conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in South Norwood. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a South Norwood conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a South Norwood flat is Flats 55, 67 & 70 Melbourne Court Anerley Road in July 2013. The tribunal calculated that the premium for the extended lease at £48,366.00 for at 55, and £88,329.00 for ats 67 and 70 combined. This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 26.38 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in South Norwood