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Recently asked questions relating to Wandsworth leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Wandsworth. Before diving in I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and almost all are in Wandsworth - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

My wife and I may need to rent out our Wandsworth 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Wandsworth conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Even though your last Wandsworth conveyancing solicitor is no longer available you can review your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the premises. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you need to seek permission via your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior permission. The consent should not be unreasonably withheld. If the lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Wandsworth. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Wandsworth ?

The majority of houses in Wandsworth are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Wandsworth in which case you should be shopping around for a Wandsworth conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Wandsworth where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Wandsworth conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 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 at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Wandsworth from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Wandsworth can be reduced where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Wandsworth levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Wandsworth.
  • A minority of Wandsworth leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents 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 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is under 75 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I am the leaseholder of a second floor flat in Wandsworth. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum payable for the purchase of the freehold?

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

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Wandsworth premises is 4 Galveston Road in August 2012. The Tribunal determined that the price payable in respect of the purchase of the freehold was £22,650. The Tribunal remited this matter back to the Wandsworth County Court for execution of the freehold Transfer Deed. This case was in relation to 2 flats.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Wandsworth