Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Belvedere:

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Top Five Questions relating to Belvedere leasehold conveyancing

My fiance and I may need to rent out our Belvedere 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Belvedere conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Even though your previous Belvedere conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the premises. The rule is that if the lease is silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you need to seek consent from your landlord or some other party prior to subletting. This means you not allowed to sublet without prior consent. The consent should not be unreasonably turned down. If the lease prohibits you from letting out the property you should ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I have recently realised that I have 68 years remaining on my flat in Belvedere. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent would be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Belvedere.

I work for a long established estate agency in Belvedere where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Belvedere conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the purchaser.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Belvedere 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 Belvedere conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Belvedere conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Belvedere with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Belvedere can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
    • Many freeholders or managing agents in Belvedere charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack 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 usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Belvedere.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Belvedere state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • A minority of Belvedere leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Belvedere conveyancing deal. If a reissued share is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • After years of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Belvedere. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Belvedere conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Belvedere residence is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case affected 13 flats. The unexpired term was 76 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Belvedere