Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Hither Green

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Recently asked questions relating to Hither Green leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Hither Green. Before I get started I want to be sure as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Hither Green - 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Hither Green. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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. Strange as it may seem, 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 ensure 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 work for a long established estate agent office in Hither Green where we see a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Hither Green conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the purchaser.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Hither Green from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hither Green can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Hither Green charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hither Green.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Hither Green conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I have given up negotiating a lease extension in Hither Green. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if 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 Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the price payable.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Hither Green residence is 18 Handen Road in April 2013. On 26 October 2012 District Judge Zimmels sitting at the Lambeth County Court made a Vesting Order that the Applicants be granted the right to acquire the freehold upon such terms and at such price determined by the LVT. The Tribunal arrived a figure of £39,535 as a valuation for the enfranchisement. This case was in relation to 3 flats. The unexpired term was 69.05 years.

    Are there common deficiencies that you witness in leases for Hither Green properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Hither Green is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors 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 elements of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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

    A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hither Green