Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Sutton:

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Top Five Questions relating to Sutton leasehold conveyancing

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our Sutton basement flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a Sutton conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease governs the relationship between the landlord and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Sutton do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

There are only 72 years remaining on my lease in Sutton. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Sutton.

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Sutton where we see a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Sutton conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Sutton with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Sutton can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Sutton levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Sutton.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Sutton state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you dont have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor before hand.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Despite our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in seeking a lease extension in Sutton. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Sutton conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Sutton premises is Buchanan Court 39 Vernon Road in April 2010. the Tribunal assessed that the premium payable for the freehold of the block should be £44,000. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired term was 66.67 years.

    What makes a Sutton lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Sutton. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements 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 issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Lloyds TSB Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Sutton