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Questions and Answers: Gerrards Cross leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Gerrards Cross. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in Gerrards Cross - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden apartment in Gerrards Cross.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is clear 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 unless 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Gerrards Cross. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Gerrards Cross are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Gerrards Cross so you should seriously consider looking for a Gerrards Cross conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

I work for a busy estate agency in Gerrards Cross where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Gerrards Cross conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that 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 wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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.

Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 offer any advice when it comes to finding a Gerrards Cross conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Gerrards Cross conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Gerrards Cross conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • I am the leaseholder of a basement flat in Gerrards Cross. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for the purchase of the freehold?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Gerrards Cross property is Flats 8, 11 and 15 Craigmore Court 46 Murray Road in December 2013. The tribunal held that the price payable by the Applicant tenant of Flat 8 to acquire an extended lease shall be £26,438 plus £1 to the intermediate lessee . The tribunal held that the price payable by the Applicant tenants of Flat 11 to acquire an extended lease shall be £26,791 plus £1 to the intermediate lessee. The tribunal held that the price payable by the Applicant tenant of Flat 15 to acquire an extended lease shall be £26,638 plus £1 to the intermediate lessee . This case affected 3 flats. The unexpired lease term was 71 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Gerrards Cross