Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Clayhall

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Clayhall leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My fiance and I may need to sub-let our Clayhall basement flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Clayhall conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Clayhall do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests 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 permission.

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Clayhall.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a half-yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

It best that you pay the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Clayhall. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. 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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Clayhall from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clayhall can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • Some Clayhall leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy process and slows down many a Clayhall home move. If a reissued share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete our sale of a £175000 apartment in Clayhall next Tuesday . The management company has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Clayhall?

    Clayhall conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually involves fees being levied by freeholders :

    • Answering pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Clayhall
    • 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 solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Clayhall leasehold property is £350. For Clayhall 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 obliged to supply answers.

    I inherited a garden flat in Clayhall. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for a lease extension?

    Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Clayhall conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Clayhall property is 59 & 59a Clarendon Gardens in February 2014. The Tribunals valuation for the freehold was £30,073.00 The unexpired term was 65 and 61.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Clayhall