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Questions and Answers: Southborough leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold apartment in Southborough. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

The lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; 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. Most leases in Southborough do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I have recently realised that I have 72 years remaining on my lease in Southborough. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have done all that could be expected to find the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Southborough.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement flat in Southborough.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Southborough. Conveyancing and Skipton Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Southborough who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Southborough conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Southborough where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Southborough conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 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 sale.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Following months of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Southborough. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Southborough conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Southborough residence is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 50.57 years.