Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in West Hampstead:

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Top Five Questions relating to West Hampstead leasehold conveyancing

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor apartment in West Hampstead.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in West Hampstead both have in the region of fifty years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease shortens the value of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more costly to extend the lease. 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 less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. 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 am a negotiator for a long established estate agency in West Hampstead where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local West Hampstead conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 appointing a West Hampstead conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a West Hampstead conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non West Hampstead conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension work?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in West Hampstead with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Hampstead can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in West Hampstead levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. 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 delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Hampstead.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in West Hampstead state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I own a first floor flat in West Hampstead. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a West Hampstead conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a West Hampstead residence is Flat A 372 Cricklewood Lane in January 2013. The Tribunal decided that the premium for the extended lease should be £5,750.00 and that the terms of the new lease should be those set out in annex to the decsion This case affected 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in West Hampstead