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Frequently asked questions relating to Chislehurst leasehold conveyancing

I am hoping to sign contracts shortly on a leasehold property in Chislehurst. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they will have a report out to me on Monday. What should I be looking out for?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Chislehurst should include some of the following:

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this will change in the future
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Chislehurst please ask your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in Chislehurst

  • My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Chislehurst. Conveyancing and The Mortgage Works mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Chislehurst who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

    The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Chislehurst conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

    I've recently bought a leasehold property in Chislehurst. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

    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. 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Chislehurst where we have witnessed a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Chislehurst conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

    Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

    An alternative approach is 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.

    Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Chislehurst from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Chislehurst can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • A minority of Chislehurst leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord 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 will have to accept that you will have to 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a Chislehurst conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is under 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • After years of correspondence we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Chislehurst. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Chislehurst 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 affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 72 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chislehurst