Frequently asked questions relating to New Cross leasehold conveyancing
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in New Cross. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in New Cross are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in New Cross so you should seriously consider looking for a New Cross conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will appraise you on the various issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in New Cross. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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).
I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in New Cross where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local New Cross conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in New Cross from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in New Cross can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
- The majority freeholders or Management Companies in New Cross levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in New Cross.
If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £425000 garden flat in New Cross in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £300 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 New Cross?
New Cross conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not involves the purchaser’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries the majority will be willing to assist. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.
We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in New Cross. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a New Cross conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a New Cross flat is 41 Endwell Road in March 2013. this matter relateed to the acquisition of the freehold of a mid- terraced Victorian house converted into three separate self-contained dwellings. By an order dated 28/11/2012, Deputy District Judge Cole in the Bromley County Court held that the leaseholders were entitled to acquire the freehold and directed that the premium payable be determined by this Tribunal. The Tribunal assessed the premium to be £14,753 This case affected 3 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 80.01 years.