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Frequently asked questions relating to Tolworth leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Tolworth. Conveyancing and Bank of Scotland mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Tolworth who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Tolworth conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Tolworth which have about fifty years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Tolworth. The lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease shortens the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to extend the lease. 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 companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Tolworth. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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).

If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £350000 maisonette in Tolworth next Monday . The freeholder has quoted £408 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Tolworth?

Tolworth conveyancing on leasehold flats usually necessitates the buyer’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries the majority will be willing to assist. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is above £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

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

Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Tolworth conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Tolworth flat is Flat D 15 Claremont Gardens in September 2013. TheTribunal determined in accordance with section48 and Schedule13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease should be fourteen thousand one hundred and eighty seven pounds (£14,187.00) This case affected 1 flat.

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Tolworth what are the most frequent lease problems?

Leasehold conveyancing in Tolworth is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
  • Insurance obligations
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Nationwide Building Society, Bank of Scotland, and Clydesdale all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Tolworth