Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Downe:

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Common questions relating to Downe leasehold conveyancing

My husband and I may need to sub-let our Downe 1st floor flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We used a Downe conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Downe do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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 today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Downe. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Downe ?

The majority of houses in Downe are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Downe so you should seriously consider looking for a Downe conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Downe where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Downe conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £150000 maisonette in Downe in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Downe?

Downe conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes typically necessitates administration charges raised by managing agents :

  • Answering pre-exchange questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in Downe
  • 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 Downe leasehold property is £350. For Downe 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.

My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Downe. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

if there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the amount due.

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Downe flat is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 50.57 years.

Are there common problems that you see in leases for Downe properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in Downe is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Chelsea Building Society, and Nottingham Building Society 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 is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Downe