Frequently asked questions relating to Fulham leasehold conveyancing
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden apartment in Fulham.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is discharge the service charge 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 appears to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Fulham. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications 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 conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Fulham so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Fulham conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Fulham. Conveyancing and Bank of Scotland mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing practitioner in Fulham who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
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. You do not need to incur the fees of a Fulham conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Fulham. 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. 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).
I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in Fulham. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to make a decision on the price.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Fulham premises 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 the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 93 years and 162 years.
What are the common problems that you encounter in leases for Fulham properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Fulham. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You could encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, The Mortgage Works, and Bank of Ireland all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.