Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Walworth:

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Top Five Questions relating to Walworth leasehold conveyancing

My fiance and I may need to let out our Walworth ground floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Walworth conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Walworth do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

There are only 72 years remaining on my flat in Walworth. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. For most situations a specialist should be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Walworth.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Walworth from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Walworth can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Walworth levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Walworth.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Walworth leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you dont have the paperwork in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • Some Walworth 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 bank and professional references. The 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £125000 maisonette in Walworth next week. The freeholder has quoted £312 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Walworth?

    Walworth conveyancing on leasehold flats more often than not involves the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the charge is technically not due. In reality one has little option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    I am the proprietor of a ground floor flat in Walworth. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for a lease extension?

    Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a Walworth conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Walworth premises is 28 Valmar Road in June 2013. this was a case with an absentee freeholder. As a result the leaseholders applied to the Lambeth County Court for an order dispensing with the giving of a notice of claim. On 25 April 2013 District Judge Zimmels made a vesting order and directed that the matter should be transferred to this tribunal to determine the premium. The tribunal concluded on a figure of £1,125 This case related to 3 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 968 years.

    Are there common problems that you see in leases for Walworth properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Walworth. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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 could encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Skipton Building Society, and Aldermore all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Walworth