Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Bromley

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Top Five Questions relating to Bromley leasehold conveyancing

There are only Fifty years left on my lease in Bromley. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. 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 apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document which can be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Bromley.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Bromley. 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. It is an essential part 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Bromley from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Bromley can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Bromley leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in the first instance.
  • Some Bromley leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a new share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a Bromley conveyancing transaction. Where a duplicate share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • All being well we will complete the sale of our £425000 maisonette in Bromley next Tuesday . The management company has quoted £324 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Bromley?

    Bromley conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally necessitates the buyer’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries most will be content to assist. They are entitled levy a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is above £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality one has little option but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    Despite our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Bromley. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to arrive at the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Bromley premises is 70 Andace Park Gardens 133-149 Widmore Road in November 2013. Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the lease extension was £10,052 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 72 years.

    What makes a Bromley lease unmortgageable?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Bromley is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • 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 will have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Lloyds TSB Bank, Virgin Money, and TSB all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.