Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Fulham:

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Top Five Questions relating to Fulham leasehold conveyancing

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Fulham. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Fulham ?

Most houses in Fulham are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Fulham so you should seriously consider looking for a Fulham conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer will appraise you on the various issues.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of apartments in Fulham which have in the region of forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. It is often difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

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

In a situation 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. 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 ensure 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 Fulham with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Fulham can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Fulham leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you fail to have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • Some Fulham leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. 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. The 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £450000 garden flat in Fulham in 5 days. The landlords agents has quoted £312 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Fulham?

    Fulham conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually requires the buyer’s solicitor sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address such questions most will be content to assist. They are entitled levy a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it exceeds £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    Having spent years of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Fulham. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a Fulham conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Fulham flat is 66 and 66a Wardo Avenue in November 2012. The Tribunal determined that the sum of £8,048 is payable by the Applicants in respect of the price for the freehold of the property This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 93 years and 162 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Fulham