Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in St Paul's Cray:

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Questions and Answers: St Paul's Cray leasehold conveyancing

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in St Paul's Cray. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in St Paul's Cray ?

The majority of houses in St Paul's Cray 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 buying in St Paul's Cray so you should seriously consider shopping around for a St Paul's Cray conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.

I am attracted to a two apartments in St Paul's Cray both have approximately forty five years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in St Paul's Cray. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As a lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field

I've recently bought a leasehold house in St Paul's Cray. Do I have any liability for 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. A critical element 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 Paul's Cray with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in St Paul's Cray can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? St Paul's Cray leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You will have to accept that you will have to pay 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share document. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a St Paul's Cray home move. Where a new share certificate is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £350000 flat in St Paul's Cray next week. The managing agents has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in St Paul's Cray?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in St Paul's Cray conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in St Paul's Cray
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for St Paul's Cray leasehold premises is £350. For St Paul's Cray conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to supply the information.

    My wife and I have hit a brick wall in seeking a lease extension in St Paul's Cray. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a St Paul's Cray conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a St Paul's Cray residence is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined 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 £30,541 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 50.57 years.