Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Deptford:

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Recently asked questions relating to Deptford leasehold conveyancing

I am intending to rent out my leasehold flat in Deptford. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?

Some leases for properties in Deptford do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

I have recently realised that I have 62 years remaining on my flat in Deptford. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord 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 apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent should be useful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Deptford.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Deptford. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Deptford where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Deptford conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with 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.

If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £275000 flat in Deptford on Thursday in a week. The management company has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Deptford?

For most leasehold sales in Deptford conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

  • Addressing pre-contract enquiries
  • Where consent is required before sale in Deptford
  • Supplying insurance information
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Deptford leasehold property is £350. For Deptford conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to provide the information.

I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in Deptford. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

Where there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the sum to be paid.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Deptford property is 41 Endwell Road in March 2013. this matter relateed to the acquisition of the freehold of a mid- terraced Victorian house converted into three separate self-contained dwellings. By an order dated 28/11/2012, Deputy District Judge Cole in the Bromley County Court held that the leaseholders were entitled to acquire the freehold and directed that the premium payable be determined by this Tribunal. The Tribunal assessed the premium to be £14,753 This case affected 3 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 80.01 years.