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Common questions relating to Deptford leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years left on my flat in Deptford. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document to be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Deptford.

I am attracted to a couple of flats in Deptford both have approximately 50 years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Deptford is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. The majority of purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 property 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 Deptford conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Deptford. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. It is an essential part 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).

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £300000 apartment in Deptford in nine days. The managing agents has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Deptford?

Deptford conveyancing on leasehold flats usually requires the buyer’s conveyancer sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions the majority will be willing to do so. They are at liberty charge a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, otherwise the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Deptford conveyancing firm to help?

in cases where there is a missing freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Deptford flat 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 was in relation to 3 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 80.01 years.

What makes a Deptford lease unmortgageable?

Leasehold conveyancing in Deptford is not unique. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • Insurance obligations
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Birmingham Midshires, Leeds Building Society, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.