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Questions and Answers: Thamesmead leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I may need to sub-let our Thamesmead basement flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Thamesmead conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Thamesmead do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see 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.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 68 years unexpired on my flat in Thamesmead. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

If you qualify, 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. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. For most situations a specialist may be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Thamesmead.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Thamesmead. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Thamesmead are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Thamesmead so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Thamesmead conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

Back In 2001, I bought a leasehold house in Thamesmead. Conveyancing and The Royal Bank of Scotland mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Thamesmead who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Thamesmead conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Thamesmead conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Thamesmead conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with several firms including non Thamesmead 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 has the firm conducted in Thamesmead in the last twenty four months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Thamesmead who can give a testimonial?

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Thamesmead conveyancing firm to help?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Thamesmead conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Thamesmead residence is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case affected 13 flats. The unexpired term was 76 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Thamesmead