Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Orpington:

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Orpington, you will need to appoint a conveyancing practitioner with leasehold experience. Whether your mortgage company is to be Halifax, RBS or NatWest be sure to choose a lawyer on their panel. Feel free to use our search tool

Top Five Questions relating to Orpington leasehold conveyancing

Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold house in Orpington. Conveyancing and Halifax mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Orpington who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Orpington conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Orpington both have approximately fifty years remaining on the leases. should I be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Orpington is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive 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 a residence 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 Orpington conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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 any new 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Orpington. Do I have any liability for 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. 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).

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

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Orpington can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Orpington levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Orpington.
  • 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 Orpington state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such changes. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • Some Orpington leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Following months of correspondence 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?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Orpington flat 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 affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 50.57 years.

    Are there common deficiencies that you see in leases for Orpington properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Orpington. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • 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 can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Clydesdale all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Orpington