Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Penge:

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Common questions relating to Penge leasehold conveyancing

I own a leasehold house in Penge. Conveyancing and Skipton Building Society mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing practitioner in Penge who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Penge conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Penge. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 reputable estate agent office in Penge where we see a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Penge conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 are your top tips when it comes to finding a Penge conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Penge conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Penge conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Penge who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Penge from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Penge can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Penge charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Penge.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 ahead of 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 over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a new share certificate is often a lengthy process and slows down many a Penge conveyancing transaction. Where a duplicate share is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is under 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • After years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Penge. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Penge conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal 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 affected 4 flats.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Penge