Questions and Answers: Walworth leasehold conveyancing
I want to let out my leasehold flat in Walworth. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?
Some leases for properties in Walworth 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.
I have recently realised that I have 62 years left on my flat in Walworth. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?
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 granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent should be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Walworth.
I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Walworth where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Walworth conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start 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 commence 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 wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
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 purchaser.
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Walworth with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Walworth can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
- Many freeholders or Management Companies in Walworth levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Walworth.
I am the registered owner of a ground-floor 1950’s flat in Walworth. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium payable for a lease extension?
Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Walworth conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Walworth premises is 28 Valmar Road in June 2013. this was a case with an absentee freeholder. As a result the leaseholders applied to the Lambeth County Court for an order dispensing with the giving of a notice of claim. On 25 April 2013 District Judge Zimmels made a vesting order and directed that the matter should be transferred to this tribunal to determine the premium. The tribunal concluded on a figure of £1,125 This case was in relation to 3 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 968 years.
What makes a Walworth lease problematic?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Walworth. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Barnsley Building Society, and Barclays Direct all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.