Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Bankside:

While any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Bankside, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Top Five Questions relating to Bankside leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to sub-let our Bankside ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Bankside conveyancing firm in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Bankside do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Bankside.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay the service charge 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 management companies 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 property in Bankside. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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).

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Bankside conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Bankside conveyancing firm) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with several firms including non Bankside conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Bankside who can give a testimonial?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Bankside with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bankside can be avoided if 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.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Bankside levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Bankside.
  • Some Bankside leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is under 80 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? Can you recommend a Bankside conveyancing firm to represent me?

    if there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Bankside flat is 1-41 Royal Tower Lodge 40 Cartwright Street in April 2013. the tribunal adding the agreed value of capitalised ground rents and the reversion the price to be paid for the freehold was £1,187,000 This case was in relation to 41 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 107 years.