Questions and Answers: West Ham leasehold conveyancing
I wish to let out my leasehold apartment in West Ham. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?
Some leases for properties in West Ham 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in West Ham. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.
If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in West Ham where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local West Ham conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 sale.
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.
What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a West Ham conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a West Ham conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non West Ham conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
Following months of correspondence we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in West Ham. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a West Ham conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a West Ham premises is 46 Credon Road in January 2014. On 11 September 2013 Deputy District Judge Price sitting at the Bow County Court made a vesting order that the freeholder surrender his lease and be granted a new lease of the Premises on such terms as may be determined by the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).The appropriate sum as concluded by the Tribunal was £7225 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69.77 years.
In relation to leasehold conveyancing in West Ham what are the most common lease problems?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in West Ham. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could encounter 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. Halifax, Skipton 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.