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Questions and Answers: Becontree leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Becontree. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Becontree.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed apartment in Becontree.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge 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 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.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Becontree. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Becontree ?

Most houses in Becontree are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Becontree in which case you should be looking for a Becontree conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am looking at a couple of apartments in Becontree both have approximately forty five years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Becontree is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. For most buyers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Becontree conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Becontree with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Becontree can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Becontree state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Where you dont have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in advance.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Obtaining a new share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Becontree conveyancing transaction. Where a new share certificate is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. 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 I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Becontree conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a Becontree conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Becontree premises is 49 Aldborough Road South in July 2012. The Tribunal decided that the premium payable for the grant of the new lease was £13,925 This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 61.36 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Becontree