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Sudbury leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My partner and I may need to sub-let our Sudbury ground floor flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a Sudbury conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed 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?

A small minority of properties in Sudbury do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests 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.

I only have Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Sudbury. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. In some cases a specialist should be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Sudbury.

I am attracted to a couple of flats in Sudbury both have approximately forty five years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Sudbury. The lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the marketability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Sudbury. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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).

I own a basement flat in Sudbury. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for a lease extension?

in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the amount due.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Sudbury flat is Ground Floor Flat 79 London Road in September 2012. the Tribunal held that the premium payable for the lease extension should be £7,636 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 74 years.

What makes a Sudbury lease problematic?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Sudbury. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Lloyds TSB Bank, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have express 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 purchaser to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Sudbury