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Questions and Answers: Nine Elms leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Nine Elms. Before I get started I would like to find out the remaining lease term.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Nine Elms - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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 work for a reputable estate agency in Nine Elms where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Nine Elms conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence 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 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 need not have 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 prior to, 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 purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Nine Elms conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Nine Elms conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with two or three firms including non Nine Elms conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in Nine Elms in the last twenty four months?
  • What are the costs for lease extension conveyancing?

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £475000 garden flat in Nine Elms next Tuesday . The managing agents has quoted £312 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Nine Elms?

    For most leasehold sales in Nine Elms conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Answering pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Nine Elms
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Nine Elms leasehold property is £350. For Nine Elms 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.

    My wife and I have hit a brick wall in seeking a lease extension in Nine Elms. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    in cases where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Nine Elms premises is 150A Albert Palace Mansions Lurline Gardens in July 2013. The Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the new lease of the subject property was £42,069 This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 57.06 years.

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

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Nine Elms. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements 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 encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, The Mortgage Works, and Nottingham Building Society all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.