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Frequently asked questions relating to Woodford leasehold conveyancing

I wish to sublet my leasehold apartment in Woodford. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

Even though your last Woodford conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can review your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the premises. The rule is that if the deeds are non-specific, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you must obtain consent from your landlord or other appropriate person prior to subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet in the absence of prior consent. The consent should not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If the lease prohibits you from letting out the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years left on my lease in Woodford. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened 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 landlord. For most situations a specialist should be useful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Woodford.

Looking forward to exchange soon on a ground floor flat in Woodford. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they report fully next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Woodford should include some of the following:

  • You should receive a copy of the lease
  • Does the lease prohibit wood flooring?
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a sinking fund?
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames
  • What you can do if a neighbour is in violation of a provision in their lease?
  • What the implications are if you breach a clause of your lease? For details of the information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Woodford please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Woodford

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Woodford from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Woodford can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • A minority of Woodford leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy process and frustrates many a Woodford home move. If a duplicate share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I am the proprietor of a ground-floor 1950’s flat in Woodford. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for a lease extension?

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

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Woodford property is 201 & 201a St. Barnabas Road in October 2013. The Tribunal decided that the price to be paid by the Applicants for the freehold interest is £20,071. This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired term was 69.26 years.

    What makes a Woodford lease problematic?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Woodford is not unique. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Lloyds TSB Bank, Leeds Building Society, and Bank of Ireland 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Woodford