Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Soho:

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Top Five Questions relating to Soho leasehold conveyancing

Planning to sign contracts shortly on a garden flat in Soho. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they will have a report out to me next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Soho should include some of the following:

  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, freeholder
  • Do you need to have carpet in the flat or are you allowed wood flooring?
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a sinking fund?
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice?
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building
  • What options are open to you if a neighbour is in violation of a provision in their lease? For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Soho please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Soho

  • I’m about to sell my ground floor flat in Soho.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

    Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until 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 today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Soho. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?

    The majority of houses in Soho are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Soho in which case you should be looking for a Soho conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

    Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold house in Soho. Conveyancing and Alliance & Leicester mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Soho who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

    The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Soho conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

    Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Soho from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Soho can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
    • Many freeholders or managing agents in Soho 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 typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Soho.
  • A minority of Soho 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. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the yearly 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 you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase 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 resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I own a a ground floor purpose built flat in Soho. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for a lease extension?

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

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Soho property is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 73.26 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Soho