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Mottingham leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

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

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in Mottingham - 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.

I am attracted to a couple of flats in Mottingham both have about fifty years unexpired on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Mottingham is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 property 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 Mottingham 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 reputable estate agent office in Mottingham where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Mottingham conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with 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 purchaser.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Mottingham can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Mottingham state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Where you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Mottingham conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £300000 garden flat in Mottingham in 5 days. The management company has quoted £300 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Mottingham?

    Mottingham conveyancing on leasehold flats usually involves administration charges raised by landlords agents :

    • Completing pre-contract questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Mottingham
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Mottingham leasehold property is £350. For Mottingham conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide answers.

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

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Mottingham conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Mottingham premises 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 23.26 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Mottingham