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Mottingham leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Mottingham which have about forty five years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Mottingham. The lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena

I work for a long established estate agency in Mottingham where we see a few leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Mottingham conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process 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. This means 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 needs to be completed 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 Mottingham with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Mottingham charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Mottingham state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. If you fail to have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor first.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Mottingham home move. If a new share certificate is needed, 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 left on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is under 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £325000 maisonette in Mottingham next Monday . The management company has quoted £384 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Mottingham?

    Mottingham conveyancing on leasehold apartments often necessitates the purchaser’s conveyancer sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer these enquiries the majority will be content to assist. They are at liberty charge a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it is above £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I am the leaseholder of a ground floor flat in Mottingham. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount due for a lease extension?

    if there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Mottingham residence is 49 Woodstock Court Burnt Ash Hill in May 2012. the payment of £64,116 by the leaseholder was the premium which the Tribunal found due for the lease extension in this case. This case affected 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 23.26 years.

    Are there common defects that you witness in leases for Mottingham properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Nationwide Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, and Clydesdale all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Mottingham