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Camberwell leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Camberwell. Before I get started I would like to find out the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and almost all are in Camberwell - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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.

There are only Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Camberwell. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?

On the basis that 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 Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Camberwell.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Camberwell. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, 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 Camberwell where we see a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Camberwell conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Camberwell conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Camberwell conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Camberwell conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm conducted in Camberwell in the last 12 months?

  • After months of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Camberwell. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Camberwell conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Camberwell flat is 28 Valmar Road in June 2013. this was a case with an absentee freeholder. As a result the leaseholders applied to the Lambeth County Court for an order dispensing with the giving of a notice of claim. On 25 April 2013 District Judge Zimmels made a vesting order and directed that the matter should be transferred to this tribunal to determine the premium. The tribunal concluded on a figure of £1,125 This case was in relation to 3 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 968 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Camberwell