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Wandsworth leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have just started marketing my basement flat in Wandsworth.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the invoice 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 managing agents 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 am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of maisonettes in Wandsworth both have approximately 50 years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Wandsworth. The lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the value of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Wandsworth. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, 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 be sure 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).

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Wandsworth conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Wandsworth conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Wandsworth conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they carried out in Wandsworth in the last year?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Having spent months of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Wandsworth. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    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 Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Wandsworth property 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 related to 2 flats.

    What makes a Wandsworth lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Wandsworth is not unique. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You will encounter 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. Birmingham Midshires, Virgin Money, and Clydesdale all have very detailed requirements 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 grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Wandsworth