Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park:

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Recently asked questions relating to Westcombe Park leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to sub-let our Westcombe Park 1st floor flat temporarily due to a new job. We instructed a Westcombe Park conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Westcombe Park do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision 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.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Westcombe Park. Conveyancing and Britannia mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing practitioner in Westcombe Park who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Westcombe Park conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am attracted to a two apartments in Westcombe Park both have in the region of 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Westcombe Park is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the property. The majority of purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 Westcombe Park 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 They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Westcombe Park can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Westcombe Park state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share document. Arranging a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy process and delays many a Westcombe Park conveyancing transaction. Where a new share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Completion in due on the sale of our £200000 flat in Westcombe Park on Thursday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £300 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Westcombe Park?

    Westcombe Park conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally results in fees being invoiced by landlords agents :

    • Answering pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Westcombe Park
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Westcombe Park leasehold premises is £350. For Westcombe Park 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 obliged to supply the information.

    I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in Westcombe Park. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Westcombe Park premises is 73 Walerand Road in August 2012. the result of the findings of the Tribunal led to a premium to be paid for the extended lease in respect of Flat 73 in the sum of £10,040. The premium applicable in respect of Flat 85 was £5,710. This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 72 years.