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Biggin Hill leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Looking forward to complete next month on a studio apartment in Biggin Hill. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they will have a report out to me on Monday. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

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

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • Defining your legal entitlements in respect of common areas in the building.E.G., does the lease grant a right of way over a path or hallways?
  • 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
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide. For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Biggin Hill please ask your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Biggin Hill

  • I own a leasehold flat in Biggin Hill. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing practitioner in Biggin Hill who previously acted has long since retired.Any advice?

    First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Biggin Hill conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

    I am looking at a couple of flats in Biggin Hill which have about fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

    A lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease shortens the saleability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

    I've recently bought a leasehold house in Biggin Hill. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    In a situation 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 own a ground floor flat in Biggin Hill. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for a lease extension?

    Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Biggin Hill conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Biggin Hill property is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 50.57 years.

    What makes a Biggin Hill lease unmortgageable?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Biggin Hill. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You may encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and TSB all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Biggin Hill