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Questions and Answers: Sudbury leasehold conveyancing

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

Your lease governs relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Sudbury do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.

Back In 2006, I bought a leasehold flat in Sudbury. Conveyancing and Skipton Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Sudbury who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a Sudbury conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am looking at a two flats in Sudbury which have approximately 50 years unexpired on the lease term. 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 a lease gets shorter the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £500000 maisonette in Sudbury in seven days. The management company has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Sudbury?

Sudbury conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually necessitates the buyer’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries the majority will be content to do so. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, otherwise the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

I am the proprietor of a garden flat in Sudbury. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for a lease extension?

Where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the price payable.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Sudbury property 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 unexpired lease term was 74 years.

Are there common defects that you come across in leases for Sudbury properties?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Sudbury. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the premises
  • A duty to insure the building
  • 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

A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Chelsea Building Society, and Aldermore all have express 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, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Sudbury