Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Downe

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Downe, you will need to instruct a conveyancing lawyer with leasehold experience. Whether your lender is to be Halifax, Birmingham Midshires or Nationwide make sure you find a lawyer on their panel. Feel free to use our search tool

Downe leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to let out our Downe ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Downe conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Downe do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Downe. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. Strange as it may seem, 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).

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Downe conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Downe conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Downe conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the costs for lease extension work?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Downe from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Downe can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Downe leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. If you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Downe conveyancing transaction. If a reissued share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Completion in due on our sale of a £150000 garden flat in Downe next Monday . The management company has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Downe?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in Downe 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-exchange enquiries
    • 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 premises 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 answers.

    After months of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Downe. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Downe conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Downe premises 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 50.57 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Downe