Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Chingford:

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Common questions relating to Chingford leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Sixty One years unexpired on my lease in Chingford. I now want to extend my lease 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 apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. On the whole a specialist would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document to be used 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 absence and the application to the County Court covering Chingford.

I've found a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Chingford. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Chingford are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Chingford so you should seriously consider looking for a Chingford conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am looking at a two flats in Chingford both have in the region of 50 years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Chingford. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As a lease shortens the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is advisable to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Chingford where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Chingford conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 wait 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 buyer.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Chingford with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Chingford can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • Some Chingford leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers 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 purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a new share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Chingford home move. If a duplicate share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Chingford conveyancing firm to represent me?

    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 Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the premium.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Chingford flat is 201 & 201a St. Barnabas Road in October 2013. The Tribunal decided that the price to be paid by the Applicants for the freehold interest is £20,071. This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 69.26 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chingford