Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Sydenham Hill

Whether you are buying or selling leasehold flat in Sydenham Hill, our panel of leasehold conveyancing experts will help you move with as little stress as possible. Find a Sydenham Hill conveyancing lawyer with our search tool

Top Five Questions relating to Sydenham Hill leasehold conveyancing

I own a leasehold flat in Sydenham Hill. Conveyancing and Santander mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in Sydenham Hill who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Sydenham Hill conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Sydenham Hill both have approximately forty five 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 Sydenham Hill is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the property. For most purchasers and banks, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises 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 premises 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 Sydenham Hill conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 am employed by a busy estate agency in Sydenham Hill where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Sydenham Hill conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the purchaser.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Sydenham Hill conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Sydenham Hill conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Sydenham Hill conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they conducted in Sydenham Hill in the last 12 months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Sydenham Hill who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Sydenham Hill with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Sydenham Hill can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Sydenham Hill leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • Some Sydenham Hill leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential 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 may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 75 years. It is therefore important at an early stage 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 have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such matters? Can you recommend a Sydenham Hill conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Sydenham Hill conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Sydenham Hill residence is Flat 5 4 Border Crescent in December 2013. the tribunal calculated that premium payable for the acquisition of a lease extension of the subject premises was in the sum of £14,900 (Fourteen thousand, nine hundred pounds). Those advising the applicant were advised to send a copy of the decision and a copy of the new lease with the premium (less the applicants costs as assessed by the Court) to the Croydon County Court (under claim number 3CR01226) for an officer of the Court to execute the new lease on behalf of the absentee landlord who is missing and cannot be traced). This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 69 years.