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Becontree leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Becontree. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before 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).

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Becontree conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Becontree conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you talk with two or three firms including non Becontree conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm carried out in Becontree in the last twenty four months?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Becontree from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Becontree can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Becontree charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. 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 typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Becontree.
  • A minority of Becontree 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 put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly 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 any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Becontree conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the disposal of our £225000 apartment in Becontree next Friday . The managing agents has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Becontree?

    Becontree conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually requires the buyer’s solicitor sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address such questions most will be willing to assist. They are entitled charge a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it is in excess of £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? 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 matter before the tribunal for a Becontree flat 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 related to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 61.36 years.

    What makes a Becontree lease defective?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Becontree. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Yorkshire Building Society, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Becontree