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Common questions relating to Wimbledon leasehold conveyancing

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our Wimbledon 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Wimbledon conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your last Wimbledon conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can review your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must obtain consent via your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet in the absence of first obtaining permission. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold flat in Wimbledon. Conveyancing and Alliance & Leicester mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Wimbledon who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Wimbledon conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Wimbledon which have approximately 50 years left on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Wimbledon. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease shortens the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage companies may be unwilling to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We advise that you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I work for a long established estate agent office in Wimbledon where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Wimbledon conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

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 proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, 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 buyer.

After years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Wimbledon. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Wimbledon conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Wimbledon property is 629 Garratt Lane in September 2014. The consideration payable for the acquisition of the freehold of the subject property was the sum £21,302.74. This represented a valuation of the freehold in the sum of £23,864 from which the sum of £2561.27 has been deducted in respect of certain costs in repairing and insuring the premises This case affected 3 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 72.94 years.

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Wimbledon what are the most common lease defects?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Wimbledon. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • 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 will have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed 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 grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Wimbledon