Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Elmstead:

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Common questions relating to Elmstead leasehold conveyancing

I would like to let out my leasehold apartment in Elmstead. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

Even though your last Elmstead conveyancing solicitor is not around you can check your lease to check if you are permitted to let out the premises. The accepted inference is that if the lease is silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek consent from your landlord or some other party in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet in the absence of first obtaining consent. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I have just appointed agents to market my basement flat in Elmstead.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Elmstead. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. However, 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).

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

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Elmstead can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Elmstead charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Elmstead.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Elmstead leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Where you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat 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 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 purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share document. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a lengthy process and frustrates many a Elmstead home move. Where a duplicate share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £225000 apartment in Elmstead next week. The management company has quoted £408 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Elmstead?

    Elmstead conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually requires the buyer’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to such questions the majority will be content to assist. They may levy a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the charge is technically not due. In reality one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.

    I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? Can you recommend a Elmstead conveyancing firm to help?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Elmstead flat is 70 Andace Park Gardens 133-149 Widmore Road in November 2013. Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the lease extension was £10,052 This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 72 years.