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Sample questions relating to Fulham leasehold conveyancing

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to sub-let our Fulham garden flat temporarily due to a new job. We used a Fulham conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Fulham do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed apartment in Fulham.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Fulham. Conveyancing and Bank of Ireland mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing solicitor in Fulham who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Fulham conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Fulham conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Fulham conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Fulham conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Fulham who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Fulham with the aim of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Fulham can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Fulham levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Fulham.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Fulham state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Where you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor first.
  • Some Fulham leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.

  • We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Fulham. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    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 LVT to determine the price payable.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Fulham residence 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 unexpired term was 93 years and 162 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Fulham