Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Stepney:

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Questions and Answers: Stepney leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Stepney. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and 99.9% are in Stepney - 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.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Stepney. Conveyancing and Aldermore mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing solicitor in Stepney who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

First contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Stepney conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Stepney conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Stepney conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Stepney conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm carried out in Stepney in the last 12 months?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Stepney from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Stepney can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Stepney state that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Should you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • Some Stepney leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers 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 the buyers completing the purchase. 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 particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete our sale of a £125000 maisonette in Stepney in 8 days. The landlords agents has quoted £348 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Stepney?

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

    • Completing conveyancing due diligence questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Stepney
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Stepney leasehold property is £350. For Stepney 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 obliged to supply the information.

    Having spent months of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Stepney. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Stepney conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Stepney premises is 12, 14 & 16 Hull Close in May 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold to the subject premises was the sum of £18,300 This case related to 3 flats. The unexpired term was 101.61 years.