Winchmore Hill leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
My husband and I may need to rent out our Winchmore Hill ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Winchmore Hill conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
Even though your last Winchmore Hill conveyancing solicitor is not available you can check your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you must obtain consent via your landlord or some other party before subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior permission. Such consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.
I’m about to sell my 2 bed apartment in Winchmore Hill.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is clear the service charge 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 management companies 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Winchmore Hill. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
In a situation 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. Strange as it may seem, 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 a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Winchmore Hill where we have witnessed a few flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Winchmore Hill conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means 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 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.
I am the leaseholder of a ground-floor 1960’s flat in Winchmore Hill. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for a lease extension?
Where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Winchmore Hill premises is First Floor Flat 109 Lyndhurst Road in May 2010. Following a vesting order by Edmonton County Court on 29th October 2009 the Tribunal decided on a figure of £5,012 for a lease extension. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 81.79 years.
What are the frequently found deficiencies that you come across in leases for Winchmore Hill properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Winchmore Hill is not unique. All leases are unique 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 parts of the property
- Insurance obligations
- 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
A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements 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, obliging the purchaser to pull out.