Questions and Answers: Fulham leasehold conveyancing
I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Fulham. Before I get started I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.
If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Fulham - 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 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 found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Fulham. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
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 help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Fulham in which case you should be looking for a Fulham conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.
I am attracted to a two flats in Fulham both have about forty five years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Fulham is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Fulham conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Fulham. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. 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 tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can one make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Fulham conveyancing firm to represent me?
Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to arrive at the amount due.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision 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 affected 2 flats. The unexpired term was 93 years and 162 years.
What are the common problems that you encounter in leases for Fulham properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Fulham is not unique. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Leeds Building Society, and TSB all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.