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Questions and Answers: North Sheen leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in North Sheen. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in North Sheen - 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.

My fiance and I may need to rent out our North Sheen basement flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a North Sheen conveyancing practice in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in North Sheen do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in North Sheen from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in North Sheen can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in North Sheen levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in North Sheen.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in North Sheen state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such works. If you fail to have the consents in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable double-check via your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £150000 flat in North Sheen on Wednesday in a week. The management company has quoted £408 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in North Sheen?

    North Sheen conveyancing on leasehold flats normally requires the buyer’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address such questions most will be willing to do so. They are at liberty levy a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the charge is not strictly payable. In reality one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.

    I am the registered owner of a a ground floor purpose built flat in North Sheen. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for a lease extension?

    Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a North Sheen conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a North Sheen flat is Flat 1 30 Ennismore Avenue in September 2010. the Tribunal adopted and arrived at a premium for the lease extension of £29, 900 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 68.34 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in North Sheen what are the most frequent lease defects?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in North Sheen. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • 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.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Platform Home Loans Ltd 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 grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.