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Common questions relating to Bermondsey leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Bermondsey. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Bermondsey are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Bermondsey in which case you should be shopping around for a Bermondsey conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should advise you fully on all the issues.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Bermondsey. Am I liable to pay 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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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).

I work for a long established estate agent office in Bermondsey where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Bermondsey conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 buyer.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Bermondsey with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bermondsey can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Bermondsey levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bermondsey.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Bermondsey state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such works. Should you fail to have the paperwork in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor before hand.
  • A minority of Bermondsey leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, 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 will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £475000 maisonette in Bermondsey in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £336 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Bermondsey?

    Bermondsey conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often necessitates the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting 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 are at liberty invoice a reasonable charge for answering 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 cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such matters? Can you recommend a Bermondsey conveyancing firm to assist?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to assess the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Bermondsey premises is 1-41 Royal Tower Lodge 40 Cartwright Street in April 2013. the tribunal adding the agreed value of capitalised ground rents and the reversion the price to be paid for the freehold was £1,187,000 This case related to 41 flats. The unexpired lease term was 107 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Bermondsey