Leasehold Conveyancing in Lee - Get a Quote from the leasehold experts approved by your lender

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Frequently asked questions relating to Lee leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Lee. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Lee ?

The majority of houses in Lee 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. It is clear that you are buying in Lee in which case you should be shopping around for a Lee conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First 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 freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Lee both have about 50 years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Lee is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 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 Lee 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 work for a long established estate agency in Lee where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Lee conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 buyer.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Lee conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Lee conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Lee conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Lee in the last year?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Lee with the aim of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Lee can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
    • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Lee levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Lee.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Lee leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you fail to have the consents in place do not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer first.
  • A minority of Lee leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.

  • Following years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Lee. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Lee conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Lee 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 lease term was 69.05 years.