Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in South Kensington:

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Recently asked questions relating to South Kensington leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in South Kensington. Before I set the wheels in motion I want to be sure as to the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in South Kensington - 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.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in South Kensington which have about 50 years remaining on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the marketability of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage companies may be unwilling to lend money on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold property in South Kensington. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

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. 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 am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in South Kensington where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local South Kensington conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start 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 sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

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 advice for leasehold conveyancing in South Kensington from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in South Kensington can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in South Kensington state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in advance.
  • Some South Kensington leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (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 lawyers.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Obtaining a duplicate share certificate is often a lengthy formality and frustrates many a South Kensington home move. If a duplicate share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is under 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in South Kensington. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a South Kensington conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a South Kensington property 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 affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 51.93 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in South Kensington