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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in South West London

My wife and I may need to sub-let our South West London basement flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a South West London conveyancing firm in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Even though your last South West London conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the property. The accepted inference is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you need to obtain consent via your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet in the absence of prior consent. Such consent must not not be unreasonably withheld. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in South West London. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in South West London ?

Most houses in South West London are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in South West London so you should seriously consider looking for a South West London conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will advise you fully on all the issues.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in South West London where we see a few flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local South West London conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in South West London from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in South West London can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in South West London charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in South West London.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? South West London leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you dont have the consents in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a South West London home move. If a duplicate share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £500000 apartment in South West London next Thursday . The managing agents has quoted £324 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in South West London?

    South West London conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes more often than not requires the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions the majority will be content to do so. They may invoice a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    We have reached the end of our tether in seeking a lease extension in South West London. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to make a decision on the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a South West London premises is 78 & 80 Newport Road in January 2013. the Tribunal concluded that the premium to be paid by the leaseholder in respect of the freehold reversion is £23,105 This case affected 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 71.63 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in South West London