Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Orpington:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Orpington leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Orpington. Before diving in I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Orpington - 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've recently bought a leasehold flat in Orpington. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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. A critical element 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 long established estate agent office in Orpington where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Orpington conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can start 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is 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 has to be done before, or at the same time as 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Orpington conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Orpington conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Orpington conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the costs for lease extension work?

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

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Orpington can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Orpington charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Orpington.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Orpington leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you fail to have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • Some Orpington leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.

  • Having spent years of negotiations we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Orpington. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Orpington conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Orpington property is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 50.57 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Orpington