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Eltham leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Eltham. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Eltham - 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.

I have recently realised that I have 62 years left on my lease in Eltham. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the landlord. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Eltham.

Looking forward to complete next month on a ground floor flat in Eltham. Conveyancing solicitors assured me that they are sending me a report next week. What should I be looking out for?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Eltham should include some of the following:

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • Are pets allowed in the flat?
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide.
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your premises and do you know what it means in practice?
  • What the implications are if you breach a clause of your lease? For details of the information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Eltham please ask your lawyer in ahead of your conveyancing in Eltham

  • I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Eltham. Am I liable to pay 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. However, 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 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 Eltham with the intention of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Eltham can be reduced where you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
    • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Eltham charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Eltham.
  • A minority of Eltham leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase 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 settle 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your solicitors. 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 as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Having spent months of negotiations we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Eltham. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement 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 judgment on the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Eltham premises is 103a Footscray Road in January 2014. The tribunal determines that the premium payable for the extended lease should be £34,500 according to the expert witness valuation calculation This case related to 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Eltham