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Recently asked questions relating to Southend leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Southend. Before I get started I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Southend - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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 only have Fifty years left on my lease in Southend. I now wish to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Southend.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Southend. 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. However, 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 ensure 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 Southend with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Southend can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Southend levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Southend.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Southend leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such works. If you fail to have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your lawyers. 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 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £275000 flat in Southend on Thursday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £420 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 Southend?

    Southend conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally necessitates the buyer’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They are entitled levy a reasonable administration fee for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is above £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, otherwise the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that you have little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    Notwithstanding our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Southend. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

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

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Southend residence is 75 Woolstone Road in February 2012. the decision of the Tribunal was that the appropriate amount to be paid to purchase the freehold was the sum of £17,711 . This case was in relation to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 68.28 and 158.