Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Wanstead:

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Common questions relating to Wanstead leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to rent out our Wanstead 1st floor flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Wanstead conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Wanstead do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Wanstead.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in Wanstead where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Wanstead conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Wanstead with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Wanstead can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Wanstead levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Wanstead.
  • A minority of Wanstead leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Wanstead home move. Where a new share is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is below 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I am the registered owner of a ground-floor 1950’s flat in Wanstead. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum payable for a lease extension?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Wanstead premises is 36 New Wanstead in August 2010. The Tribunal arrived at a valuation of the premium for the freehold of £22,359. This case related to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 73.92 years.

    What makes a Wanstead lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Wanstead is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are missing. 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 premises
    • 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 a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Barclays , Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Britannia all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Wanstead