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Tooting leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I own a leasehold house in Tooting. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Tooting who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Tooting conveyancing solicitor 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 landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Tooting which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease shortens the saleability of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena

I work for a long established estate agent office in Tooting where we see a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Tooting conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Tooting with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Tooting can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Tooting levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Tooting.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Tooting state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you dont have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer in advance.
  • A minority of Tooting leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Obtaining a new share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Tooting home move. If a new share certificate is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £350000 maisonette in Tooting on Thursday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £396 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Tooting?

    Tooting conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally necessitates the buyer’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address such questions the majority will be content to do so. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is above £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has no option but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I am the proprietor of a a ground floor purpose built flat in Tooting. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for a lease extension?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the LVT to calculate the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Tooting flat is 14 Nutwell Street in January 2014. The premium payable for the acquisition of a new lease of the subject premises was in the sum of £30,523 This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 62.94 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Tooting