Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Elephant and Castle:

Any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Elephant and Castle, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: Elephant and Castle leasehold conveyancing

I only have 72 years remaining on my flat in Elephant and Castle. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. For most situations an enquiry agent may be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce a report to be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Elephant and Castle.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Elephant and Castle. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Elephant and Castle are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Elephant and Castle so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Elephant and Castle conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of apartments in Elephant and Castle both have about forty five years left on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Elephant and Castle is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the property. For most buyers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. 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 Elephant and Castle conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 any new 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Elephant and Castle conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Elephant and Castle conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Elephant and Castle conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Elephant and Castle who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Elephant and Castle from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Elephant and Castle can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Elephant and Castle leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming formality and slows down many a Elephant and Castle home move. If a new share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible 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 attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Elephant and Castle conveyancing firm to help?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Elephant and Castle property is Ground Floor Flat 39 Bronsart Road in May 2010. Following a vesting order by West London County Court the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal concluded that the price to be paid for the extended lease of the premises was Thirteen Thousand Two hundred pounds (£13,200) in accordance with the valuation. The extended lease was granted for a term of 90 years from the expiry date of the Lease and at a peppercorn ground rent from the date of the vesting order. This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 74.77 years.