Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Ham:

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Common questions relating to Ham leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my ground floor flat in Ham.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I today plan to offer on a house that appears to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have since found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Ham. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Ham are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Ham so you should seriously consider looking for a Ham conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to advising 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 comes with conditions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor should advise you fully on all the issues.

I own a leasehold flat in Ham. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing practitioner in Ham who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Ham conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Ham. Do I have any liability for 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 lessee 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 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Ham with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Ham can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Ham leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Should you fail to have the approvals in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
  • Some Ham leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain 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 had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Ham. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Ham property is Flat D 15 Claremont Gardens in September 2013. TheTribunal determined in accordance with section48 and Schedule13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease should be fourteen thousand one hundred and eighty seven pounds (£14,187.00) This case affected 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Ham