Quality lawyers for Leasehold Conveyancing in Dulwich

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Recently asked questions relating to Dulwich leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich. Before diving in I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and 99.9% are in Dulwich - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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.

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Dulwich basement flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Dulwich conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

The lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will set out if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Dulwich do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Dulwich. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 busy estate agency in Dulwich where we have witnessed a number of flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Dulwich conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 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 can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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 sale.

An alternative approach is 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 buyer.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Dulwich can be reduced if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Dulwich leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
  • Some Dulwich leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a Dulwich home move. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Dulwich conveyancing firm to represent me?

    Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Dulwich conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 64 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Dulwich