Common questions relating to South Brent leasehold conveyancing
My partner and I may need to rent out our South Brent garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a South Brent conveyancing firm in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in South Brent do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.
I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in South Brent. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in South Brent are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in South Brent so you should seriously consider shopping around for a South Brent conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in South Brent. Am I liable to pay 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 work for a reputable estate agent office in South Brent where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local South Brent conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that 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. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a South Brent conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a South Brent conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non South Brent conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
South Brent Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries before buying
Does the lease have in excess of 85 years unexpired?
Its a good idea to find out as much as you can regarding the company managing the building as they will either make life much simpler or problematic. As the proprietor of a leasehold property you will be in the clutches of the managing agents from a financial perspective and when it comes to day to day issues such as the upkeep of the communal areas. You should not be afraid to ask other tenants if they are happy with them. In conclusion, investigate as to the dates that the maintenance charges are due to the relevant party and precisely how they are spending the funds.
It would be wise to discover if the the lease contains any unreasonable restrictions in the lease. By way of example it is very common in South Brent leases that pets are not allowed in in a block in South Brent. If you love the propertyin South Brent but your cat is not allowed to live with you then you have a very difficult choice.