Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia:

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

Recently asked questions relating to Belgravia leasehold conveyancing

My fiance and I may need to sub-let our Belgravia garden flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Belgravia conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Even though your previous Belgravia conveyancing lawyer is no longer available you can check your lease to see if it allows you to sublet the apartment. The rule is that if the lease is non-specific, subletting is permitted. There may be a precondition that you must seek consent via your landlord or other appropriate person before subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet in the absence of prior permission. The consent must not not be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Belgravia.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is 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 management companies 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 recently bought a leasehold flat in Belgravia. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. However, 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Belgravia leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Should you dont have the consents to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential 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 there is an ongoing 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a new share certificate can be a lengthy formality and slows down many a Belgravia home move. If a new share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage 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.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £175000 apartment in Belgravia in just under a week. The management company has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Belgravia?

    Belgravia conveyancing on leasehold flats often requires the purchaser’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They may levy a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it is in excess of £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the charge is technically not due. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    Notwithstanding our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Belgravia. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Belgravia premises is Flat 3 47 Cadogan Square in December 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable to the landord by the leaseholder for the lease extension was £732,935 This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 13.33 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Belgravia