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Woodford Green leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My wife and I may need to sub-let our Woodford Green ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Woodford Green conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Woodford Green do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 68 years remaining on my lease in Woodford Green. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. On the whole a specialist would be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Woodford Green.

I have just started marketing my 2 bed apartment in Woodford Green.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is pay the invoice 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Woodford Green. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Woodford Green are freehold rather than 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 clear that you are buying in Woodford Green so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Woodford Green conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Woodford Green conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Woodford Green conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with several firms including non Woodford Green conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm completed in Woodford Green in the last twenty four months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Woodford Green who can give a testimonial?

  • Having spent years of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Woodford Green. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    if there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Woodford Green premises 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 was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 69.26 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Woodford Green