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Common questions relating to Petts Wood leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Petts Wood. Before I get started I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and most are in Petts Wood - 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 husband and I may need to let out our Petts Wood basement flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Petts Wood conveyancing practice in 2001 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 Petts Wood do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to 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 permission.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Petts Wood. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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 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).

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Petts Wood with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Petts Wood can be reduced if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • A minority of Petts Wood 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 put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a lengthy formality and delays many a Petts Wood home move. Where a reissued share is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer 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. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £250000 maisonette in Petts Wood in seven days. The landlords agents has quoted £396 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Petts Wood?

    Petts Wood conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes ordinarily involves fees being raised by landlords agents :

    • Completing pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Petts Wood
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Petts Wood leasehold property is £350. For Petts Wood conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to supply the information.

    I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in Petts Wood. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Petts Wood 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 affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 50.57 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Petts Wood