Questions and Answers: Uxbridge leasehold conveyancing
My fiance and I may need to sub-let our Uxbridge 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Uxbridge conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in Uxbridge do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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 Sixty One years remaining on my flat in Uxbridge. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?
On the basis that 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 lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Uxbridge.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Uxbridge which have approximately fifty years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Uxbridge is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Uxbridge conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Uxbridge where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Uxbridge conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?
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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
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 advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Uxbridge conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Uxbridge conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Uxbridge conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- Can they put you in touch with client in Uxbridge who can give a testimonial?
After years of negotiations we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Uxbridge. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
in cases where there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the sum to be paid.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Uxbridge flat is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 69 years.