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Questions and Answers: West Drayton leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in West Drayton. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in West Drayton - 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.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in West Drayton both have about 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in West Drayton is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the salability of the property. For most buyers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 a residence 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 Drayton 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 any new 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in West Drayton. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, 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 ensure 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).

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in West Drayton where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local West Drayton conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in West Drayton from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Drayton can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in West Drayton levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for 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 common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Drayton.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in West Drayton state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. Should you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer in the first instance.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a West Drayton home move. If a duplicate share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in West Drayton. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a West Drayton premises is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired term was 69 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in West Drayton