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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10125
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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I have a lease on a flat in a building with eight or so other

Customer Question

I have a lease on a flat in a building with eight or so other flats, and in 2004 I and most of the other lessees purchased the freehold. After the purchase we believed that the remaining lease terms, all then of some 50 years, were no longer very relevant as it was tacitly understood that we could vote ourselves 999 year leases at any time, and ditto for sucessors in title.

However, after I had accepted an offer for my flat, the buyer's solicitor advised him not to exchange contracts until a new 999 year lease had been drafted and registered with the Land Registry.

The freeholders of course have no objection to this, and the chairman of the freehold company has instructed the solicitors who act for the company to do this, and the process is currently in progress. However, because I have a mortgage, which I am not currently in a position to repay in full, part of the required process is charge substitution with my mortgage provider, which I am finding is tortuously slow!

I gather this can be avoided by a trick involving the creation of a head lease, with which the new 999 year lease is later merged. But unfortunately the flat lease already appears to be a sublease of an existing head lease. So that approach might be frought with confusion and more delay!

However, another idea I had would be for the freeholders' solicitor to draft a new 999 year lease in the purchasor's name, on the assumption the sale proceeds, have it signed by the freeholders, and held in readiness, along with an irrevocable declaration that no objections will be raised, or payments demanded, to its registration immediately following completion of the sale to that purchasor, by which time the mortgage will have been redeemed and the charge released.

Initially, I asked the freeholders' solicitor if he could proceed along those lines. But he demurred, saying he hadn't had sight of written evidence that I have de facto a 999 year lease. It seemed rather a feeble verging on ridiculous excuse even a month ago (when this started), as he had the freehold company chairman's clear instructions. But I think the real reason for his reluctance may be that this slightly unconventional approach is simply outside his routine procedures or "comfort zone".

So in summary, I am asking you if this second approach is potentially viable and, if so, for a form of words likely to be adequate for the buyer's solicitor to advise him it is safe to proceed (although I realise there could be no guarantees that any such letter would necessarily have the desired effect, as in the end it is a judgement call and paranoia may still prevail!).

Also, it doesn't seem as if such a proposal would have any bearing on my building society's charge, or come back to bite me later. But if necessary (and possible!) the letter would also have to include provisos to avoid those possibilities.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

I am not sure whether you have discussed matters with your Solicitor but in this scenario, the normal and right thing to do would be for the new Lease to be granted to you and that this completes on the same day as you complete the Sale. This way you don't need to worry about your Mortgage Lender and the Buyer and more importantly his Solicitor, will also be happy.
What happens in practice is that on the day of completion your Solicitor completes/gets the Lease extension dated in your favour and the Land Registry Transfer document confirms that you sell to the Buyer the benefit of the existing and new Lease, and then undertakes to forward the Lease extension Deed and Land Registry application form, with Land Registry fee of £40 to the Buyers Solicitor. This application is then registered by the Buyers Solicitor, together with his clients application.

This is the best and normal way to proceed. (I would say that it would be unusual for the Freehold Company to agree to grant a Lease extension to your Buyer, as he is not the current Leaseholder).

I hope this assists, but please let me know if you require any further clarification.

Kind Regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks for your prompt reply. I am dealing with two lots of solicitors, firstly those who deal with freehold matters for the freehold company (although I am paying them for this lease extension work), and secondly the solicitors dealing with my flat sale and purchase, and currently the latter are simply waiting for the new 999 year lease to be registered by the first lot.


What you say suggests it is the second lot, i.e. my flat sale solicitors, who should also deal with the lease extension, in the way you indicate. Is that correct?


(The person dealing with my case at the freeholders' solicitors did mention at the outset something about it being better for my solicitors to do the lease extension. But I assumed they would have to go through the same rigmarole, which might complicate the sale.)


Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi John,

Yep- the Solicitor dealing with your Sale should first of all be advising you how to approach the Lease extension and then corresponding with the Freeholder Company's Solicitor.
Then, your Solicitor can then confirm to your Buyers Solicitor what is planned.
To be honest, you shouldn't be trying to get this resolved- this is your (Sale)Solicitor's job.

I hope this helps.

Good luck.
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10125
Experience: Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
Aston Lawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Very many thanks - First thing on tuesday I'll get onto the solicitors dealing with the flat sale and get them moving on this!


Also, I have rated your replies "excellent" and am content for this question to closed. So "over and out" (for now - no doubt I'll have more questions in future).


Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks John.

Sure your Solicitor will be able to sort it out for you.

Enjoy your Easter break!

Best Wishes

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