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Top Five Questions relating to Selhurst leasehold conveyancing

I have just started marketing my basement flat in Selhurst.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you pay the invoice 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 attracted to a two apartments in Selhurst which have in the region of forty five years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Selhurst. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease shortens the value of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Selhurst. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation 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. It is an essential part 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 work for a reputable estate agency in Selhurst where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Selhurst conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

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 proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Selhurst with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Selhurst can be reduced if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Selhurst leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you fail to have the approvals in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor before hand.
  • A minority of Selhurst leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any 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 hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Obtaining a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Selhurst home move. If a new share is necessary, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Selhurst conveyancing firm to assist?

    Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Selhurst conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Selhurst premises is Flats 55, 67 & 70 Melbourne Court Anerley Road in July 2013. The tribunal calculated that the premium for the extended lease at £48,366.00 for at 55, and £88,329.00 for ats 67 and 70 combined. This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 26.38 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Selhurst