Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Twickenham:

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Questions and Answers: Twickenham leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement flat in Twickenham.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you discharge the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I've found a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Twickenham. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Twickenham are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Twickenham so you should seriously consider looking for a Twickenham conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should appraise you on the various issues.

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Twickenham where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Twickenham conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease 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 proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. 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 extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Twickenham from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Twickenham can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Twickenham levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Twickenham.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Twickenham leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Should you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • A minority of Twickenham 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 able to meet the annual 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 you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a Twickenham conveyancing transaction. Where a reissued share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I am the leaseholder of a ground floor flat in Twickenham. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for the purchase of the freehold?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Twickenham conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Twickenham residence is Ground Floor Flat 91 Bath Road in May 2009. in a case where the freeholder could not be traced, the Brentford County Court ordered that the Lease be surrendered in return for the grant of a new lease of the Premises at a premium determined by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal concluded that the price payable by the Applicant for the new lease of the premises be £15,900 This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 60.45 years.

    What makes a Twickenham lease problematic?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Twickenham. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, The Mortgage Works, and TSB all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Twickenham