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Top Five Questions relating to Penge leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Penge. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Penge.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Penge.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

It best that you pay the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Penge. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Penge are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Penge in which case you should be looking for a Penge conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.

I am attracted to a couple of flats in Penge which have approximately fifty years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Penge 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. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat 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 property 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 Penge conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Penge from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Penge can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Penge leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you fail to have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer before hand.
  • Some Penge leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and slows down many a Penge conveyancing transaction. If a reissued share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • I inherited a first floor flat in Penge. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for a lease extension?

    if there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Penge flat is Flats 5, 9, 38 & 40 Blakewood Court Anerley Park in January 2012. the tribunal held that the premiums payable for the new lease sare: FLAT 5:- £7,130 FLAT 9:- £7,860 FLAT 38:- £15,867 FLAT 40: £14,834 This case was in relation to 4 flats.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Penge