Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Clapton:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Clapton leasehold conveyancing

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Clapton which have approximately forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Clapton. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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. 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 am employed by a long established estate agent office in Clapton where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Clapton conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser 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 at the same time as completion of the sale.

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 purchaser.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Clapton from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clapton can be reduced if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Clapton charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clapton.
  • Some Clapton leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Completion in due on the disposal of our £300000 apartment in Clapton next week. The managing agents has quoted £384 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Clapton?

    Clapton conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes nine out of ten times results in fees being levied by management companies :

    • Completing pre-contract questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Clapton
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Clapton leasehold premises is £350. For Clapton conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide the information.

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Clapton conveyancing firm to assist?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Clapton conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Clapton residence is 104 Nightingale Road in May 2009. The Tribunal's Decision is that the premium torbe paid for the enfranchisement in this case is £112,174 This case related to 10 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 71.25 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Clapton