Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood:

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Frequently asked questions relating to St John's Wood leasehold conveyancing

Planning to sign contracts shortly on a leasehold property in St John's Wood. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they report fully within the next couple of days. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood should include some of the following:

  • How long the lease is You should be advised as what happens when the lease ends, and informed of the importance of the 80 year mark
  • Will you be prohibited or prevented from having pets in the property?
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a reserve fund?
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your premises and do you know what it means in practice? For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in St John's Wood please ask your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in St John's Wood

  • I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have since found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in St John's Wood. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

    The majority of houses in St John's Wood are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in St John's Wood so you should seriously consider looking for a St John's Wood conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

    I own a leasehold house in St John's Wood. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in St John's Wood who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

    The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a St John's Wood conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

    I've recently bought a leasehold property in St John's Wood. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

    In a situation 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 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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in St John's Wood charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? St John's Wood leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Should you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic 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 by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I am the registered owner of a second floor flat in St John's Wood. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for the purchase of the freehold?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a St John's Wood residence is Garden Flat 195 Goldhurst Terrace in May 2012. The Tribunal held in accordance with section 48 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease should be £60,855.00. This case related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 60.16 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St John's Wood