Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Isle of Dogs

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Recently asked questions relating to Isle of Dogs leasehold conveyancing

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Isle of Dogs.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?

It best that you 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 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Isle of Dogs. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Isle of Dogs ?

The majority of houses in Isle of Dogs are freehold and not 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 apparent that you are buying in Isle of Dogs so you should seriously consider looking for a Isle of Dogs conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.

I am looking at a two apartments in Isle of Dogs both have approximately 50 years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Isle of Dogs is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with under 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 a residence 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 Isle of Dogs conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Isle of Dogs. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Isle of Dogs with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Isle of Dogs can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Isle of Dogs levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Isle of Dogs.
  • Some Isle of Dogs leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Arranging a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy process and delays many a Isle of Dogs home move. Where a duplicate share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • After months of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Isle of Dogs. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    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 First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Isle of Dogs flat is 12, 14 & 16 Hull Close in May 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold to the subject premises was the sum of £18,300 This case related to 3 flats. The unexpired term was 101.61 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Isle of Dogs