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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood

I am intending to rent out my leasehold apartment in West Norwood. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?

A lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in West Norwood do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years left on my flat in West Norwood. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply 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 prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. For most situations a specialist may be useful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing West Norwood.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in West Norwood. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in West Norwood are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in West Norwood in which case you should be looking for a West Norwood conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should advise you fully on all the issues.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • The majority freeholders or managing agents in West Norwood charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? West Norwood leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • A minority of West Norwood leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £325000 maisonette in West Norwood in 5 days. The managing agents has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in West Norwood?

    West Norwood conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes nine out of ten times necessitates administration charges raised by managing agents :

    • Addressing pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in West Norwood
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for West Norwood leasehold premises is £350. For West Norwood conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide the information.

    We have reached the end of our tether in seeking a lease extension in West Norwood. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a West Norwood conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a West Norwood flat is 172 Knollys Road in February 2012. On 13 September 2011 District Judge Guinan made a vesting order and the proceedings were transferred to the tribunal for the purpose of assessing the premium which was subsequently calculated to be £24,003 This case affected 4 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 98.28 for 3 flats other than the garden flat which had 66.04 years remaining.