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Questions and Answers: Bexley leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Bexley. Before diving in I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Bexley - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years left on my lease in Bexley. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, 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 magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. On the whole a specialist may be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Bexley.

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed apartment in Bexley.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a quarterly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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.

I work for a busy estate agency in Bexley where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Bexley conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

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

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bexley can be reduced where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Bexley levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. 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 Bexley.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Bexley state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Where you dont have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in advance.
  • Some Bexley 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 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 there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Bexley conveyancing firm to represent me?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Bexley conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Bexley premises is 103a Footscray Road in January 2014. The tribunal determines that the premium payable for the extended lease should be £34,500 according to the expert witness valuation calculation This case related to 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Bexley