Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in West Brompton:

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Top Five Questions relating to West Brompton leasehold conveyancing

I’m about to sell my garden apartment in West Brompton.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

It best that you 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 management companies will not acknowledge the buyer until 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am looking at a two apartments in West Brompton which have in the region of forty five years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in West Brompton is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with West Brompton conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in West Brompton where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local West Brompton conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor 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 wait 2 years for a lease extension. 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.

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 buyer.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a West Brompton conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a West Brompton conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non West Brompton conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How many lease extensions have they carried out in West Brompton in the last year?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension conveyancing?

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £125000 flat in West Brompton on Thursday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £336 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in West Brompton?

    West Brompton conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally requires the buyer’s lawyer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They are entitled charge 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 management information fee levied by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    Following months of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in West Brompton. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    in cases where there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a West Brompton premises is 5 Wetherby Gardens in June 2014. the Tribunal concluded that the price to be paid for the freehold of the property was £2,369,452. This case was in relation to 5 flats. The unexpired lease term was 38.98 years.