Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich:

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Top Five Questions relating to Dulwich leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Dulwich - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

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

Your lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, 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 Dulwich do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Dulwich both have about forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Dulwich is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most buyers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat 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 Dulwich 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 They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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.

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Dulwich where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Dulwich conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser 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 prior to, 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich can be reduced if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Dulwich levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Dulwich leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you fail to have the paperwork in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some Dulwich leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the yearly 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser'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 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I have given up trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Dulwich. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Dulwich flat is 60 Taymount Grange Taymount Rise in June 2012. The Tribunal determined the premium at £13,346 for a lease extension of a further 90 years This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 64 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Dulwich