Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia:

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Top Five Questions relating to Belgravia leasehold conveyancing

I am hoping to exchange soon on a studio apartment in Belgravia. Conveyancing lawyers assured me that they report fully within the next couple of days. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia should include some of the following:

  • Does the lease require carpeting throughout thus preventing wood flooring?
  • You need to be told what counts as a Nuisance in the lease
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this will change in the future
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a reserve fund?
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Belgravia please ask your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Belgravia

  • Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement apartment in Belgravia.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

    It best that you discharge 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Belgravia. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

    In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. A critical element 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 choosing a Belgravia conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

    If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Belgravia conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Belgravia conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

    • What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in Belgravia in the last twenty four months?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension work?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Belgravia levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. 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 reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Belgravia.
  • A minority of Belgravia leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 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 present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I own a a ground floor purpose built flat in Belgravia. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for a lease extension?

    Where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 13.33 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Belgravia