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West Norwood leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood. Before I get started I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in West Norwood - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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.

Expecting to complete next month on a basement flat in West Norwood. Conveyancing lawyers assured me that they report fully tomorrow. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood should include some of the following:

  • You should receive a copy of the lease
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, freeholder
  • Are you allowed to have a pet in the flat?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this will change in the future
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice?
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in West Norwood please enquire of your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in West Norwood

  • I have just appointed agents to market my basement flat in West Norwood.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

    It best that you 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 managing agents 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold house in West Norwood. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

    In a situation 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 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).

    Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
    • Many freeholders or managing agents in West Norwood charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in West Norwood.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in West Norwood state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you fail to have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor before hand.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this via your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. It is therefore 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 home on the market for sale.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? Can you recommend a West Norwood conveyancing firm to assist?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a West Norwood premises is 172 Knollys Road in February 2012. On 13 September 2011 District Judge Guinan made a vesting order and the proceedings were transferred to the tribunal for the purpose of assessing the premium which was subsequently calculated to be £24,003 This case affected 4 flats. The unexpired term was 98.28 for 3 flats other than the garden flat which had 66.04 years remaining.