Top Five Questions relating to South London leasehold conveyancing
My husband and I may need to sub-let our South London ground floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a South London conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
Notwithstanding that your previous South London conveyancing lawyer is no longer around you can review your lease to check if you are permitted to let out the apartment. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you need to seek consent from your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior consent. Such consent should not be unreasonably withheld. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.
I am attracted to a two maisonettes in South London which have about 50 years left on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?
A lease is a legal document that entitles you 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 expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in South London. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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 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).
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in South London with the intention of saving time on the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in South London can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? South London leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Should you dont have the paperwork in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor in advance.
My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in South London. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the price.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a South London property is Flat B 10 Grove Avenue in October 2013. Following a vesting order Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court 3rd July 2013 The tribunal determines that the premium payable for the lease extension was £36,215.00 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 65.21 years.
Are there common problems that you see in leases for South London properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in South London. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
- 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
You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Bank of Ireland all have express conveyancing instructions 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 grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.