Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Gipsy Hill:

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Gipsy Hill leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Gipsy Hill.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you pay 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 managing agents 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've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Gipsy Hill. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Gipsy Hill ?

Most houses in Gipsy Hill are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Gipsy Hill in which case you should be shopping around for a Gipsy Hill conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. 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’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should advise you fully on all the issues.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Gipsy Hill which have about 50 years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming 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 as mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Gipsy Hill from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Gipsy Hill can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Gipsy Hill leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Should you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some Gipsy Hill leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a new share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Gipsy Hill home move. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £400000 maisonette in Gipsy Hill in 10 days. The landlords agents has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Gipsy Hill?

    Gipsy Hill conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally involves the buyer’s solicitor sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions the majority will be content to assist. They are entitled charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has little option but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such matters? Can you recommend a Gipsy Hill conveyancing firm to help?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Gipsy Hill conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Gipsy Hill premises is Flat 5 4 Border Crescent in December 2013. the tribunal calculated that premium payable for the acquisition of a lease extension of the subject premises was in the sum of £14,900 (Fourteen thousand, nine hundred pounds). Those advising the applicant were advised to send a copy of the decision and a copy of the new lease with the premium (less the applicants costs as assessed by the Court) to the Croydon County Court (under claim number 3CR01226) for an officer of the Court to execute the new lease on behalf of the absentee landlord who is missing and cannot be traced). This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 69 years.