Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Swiss Cottage:

While any conveyancing practice can theoretically deal with your leasehold conveyancing in Swiss Cottage, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Common questions relating to Swiss Cottage leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Swiss Cottage. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Swiss Cottage ?

Most houses in Swiss Cottage are freehold and not 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 apparent that you are purchasing in Swiss Cottage in which case you should be looking for a Swiss Cottage 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 entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am looking at a couple of apartments in Swiss Cottage which have about 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Swiss Cottage is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Swiss Cottage conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Swiss Cottage. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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 be sure 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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Swiss Cottage with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Swiss Cottage can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • Many freeholders or Management Companies in Swiss Cottage charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. 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 obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Swiss Cottage.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Swiss Cottage leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Where you dont have the consents in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Swiss Cottage conveyancing deal. Where a new share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 75 years. It is therefore important 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 home on the market for sale.

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

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to decide the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Swiss Cottage property is Raised Ground Floor Flat 20 Fitzjohns Avenue in July 2014. the Tribunal decided that the premiums to be paid for new leases in respect of the Raised Ground Floor Flat and the First Floor Flat were to be calculated as: Raised Ground Floor: £765,175.14 First Floor: £601,617.77 This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 16.83 and 16.43.

    Are there frequently found deficiencies that you come across in leases for Swiss Cottage properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Swiss Cottage is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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. Lloyds TSB Bank, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Nottingham Building Society all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Swiss Cottage