Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in St John's Wood

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

I am hoping to sign contracts shortly on a studio apartment in St John's Wood. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they will have a report out to me within the next couple of days. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

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

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • Setting out your legal entitlements in relation to common areas in the building.For instance, does the lease contain a right of way over an accessway or staircase?
  • Are you allowed to have a pet in the flat?
  • 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
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • 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 For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in St John's Wood please ask your lawyer in ahead of your conveyancing in St John's Wood

  • I've found a house that appears to be perfect, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in St John's Wood. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in St John's Wood ?

    Most houses in St John's Wood are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in St John's Wood in which case you should be looking for a St John's Wood conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold house in St John's Wood. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    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).

    Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers representatives.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in St John's Wood levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for 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? Most leases in St John's Wood state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Where you fail to have the consents in place you should not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming formality and delays many a St John's Wood home move. Where a reissued share certificate is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • I have had difficulty in negotiating a lease extension in St John's Wood. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a St John's Wood property 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 60.16 years.

    What makes a St John's Wood lease problematic?

    Leasehold conveyancing in St John's Wood is not unique. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Birmingham Midshires, Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St John's Wood