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St Margarets leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I would like to rent out my leasehold flat in St Margarets. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

Notwithstanding that your previous St Margarets conveyancing solicitor is not around you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you need to obtain consent from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. This means that you cannot sublet without prior consent. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If your lease prohibits you from letting out the property you should ask your landlord for their consent.

I have just appointed agents to market my basement flat in St Margarets.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a half-yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the invoice 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 until 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.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in St Margarets where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local St Margarets conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that 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 proposed purchaser 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 at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a St Margarets conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a St Margarets conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with several firms including non St Margarets conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in St Margarets in the last year?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a St Margarets conveyancing firm to assist?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a St Margarets 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 related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 60.45 years.

    What are the common deficiencies that you come across in leases for St Margarets properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in St Margarets. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You may encounter 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. Santander, Virgin Money, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St Margarets