Frequently asked questions relating to South Kensington leasehold conveyancing
I would like to rent out my leasehold flat in South Kensington. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?
Some leases for properties in South Kensington do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement apartment in South Kensington.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
It best that you discharge 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 managing agents 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I am attracted to a couple of flats in South Kensington which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are plenty of short leases in South Kensington. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is generally wise to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena
Completion in due on the disposal of our £125000 apartment in South Kensington in just under a week. The management company has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in South Kensington?
South Kensington conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally necessitates the buyer’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions most will be content to assist. They may levy a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is above £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is technically not due. In reality one has little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.
Having spent years of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in South Kensington. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a South Kensington conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a South Kensington premises is Flat 16 21/22 Stanhope Gardens in November 2010. the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal concluded 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 £106,975 This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 51.93 years.
Are there common problems that you encounter in leases for South Kensington properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in South Kensington is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You will encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and TSB all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.