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Kingston upon Thames leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed apartment in Kingston upon Thames.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge 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've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Kingston upon Thames. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Kingston upon Thames are freehold rather than 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. We note that you are purchasing in Kingston upon Thames in which case you should be looking for a Kingston upon Thames conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Kingston upon Thames with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Kingston upon Thames can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Kingston upon Thames leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Should you fail to have the paperwork in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a Kingston upon Thames home move. If a duplicate share is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary 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 double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete the disposal of our £275000 maisonette in Kingston upon Thames on Monday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £384 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Kingston upon Thames?

    Kingston upon Thames conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually necessitates the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions most will be content to assist. They may levy a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is above £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, otherwise the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    Following months of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Kingston upon Thames. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Kingston upon Thames 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 related to 1 flat.

    What makes a Kingston upon Thames lease unmortgageable?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Kingston upon Thames. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that 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 parts of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You may have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Chelsea Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Kingston upon Thames