Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Catford

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Top Five Questions relating to Catford leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to let out our Catford 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Catford conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Catford do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

I’m about to sell my ground floor flat in Catford.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Catford. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Catford ?

The majority of houses in Catford are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Catford in which case you should be shopping around for a Catford conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should appraise you on the various issues.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Catford which have approximately fifty years left on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Catford is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability of the property. For most buyers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Catford conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Catford with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Catford can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Catford state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in advance.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate is often a lengthy process and slows down many a Catford home move. If a new share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this via your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Catford conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Catford conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Catford flat is 44 Elmer Road in January 2013. The Tribunal dacied that amount to be paid by the Leaseholders for the Landlords freehold reversion was £12,951 as at the valuation date (20" September 2012).This matter was referred back to the Bromley County Court to deal with costs, fees and any other outstanding matters. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 74.25 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Catford