Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Forestdale:

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Common questions relating to Forestdale leasehold conveyancing

I have just appointed agents to market my garden apartment in Forestdale.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?

It best that you discharge 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 management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Forestdale. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Forestdale are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Forestdale so you should seriously consider looking for a Forestdale conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

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

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. 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).

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Forestdale from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Forestdale can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • A minority of Forestdale leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and 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 over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Obtaining a new share certificate is often a lengthy process and delays many a Forestdale conveyancing deal. Where a new share certificate is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your lawyers. 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 identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £275000 flat in Forestdale next week. The managing agents has quoted £312 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Forestdale?

    Forestdale conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often requires the buyer’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries the majority will be content to assist. They are entitled levy a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is above £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    Notwithstanding our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in negotiating a lease extension in Forestdale. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    if there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the premium.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Forestdale flat is The Woodlands 95 Purley Park Road in April 2009. The Tribunals own valuation produced the figure of £37,912. This case affected 6 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 78.32 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Forestdale