Leasehold Conveyancing in West Wickham - Get a Quote from the leasehold experts approved by your lender

While any conveyancing practice can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in West Wickham, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: West Wickham leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement flat in West Wickham.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

It best that you discharge the service charge 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 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 looking at a couple of maisonettes in West Wickham which have approximately forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in West Wickham. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the value of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is advisable to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold property in West Wickham. Do I have any liability for 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. 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 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in West Wickham from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in West Wickham can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in West Wickham charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in West Wickham.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? West Wickham leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Should you fail to have the consents in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer before hand.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £175000 flat in West Wickham next week. The management company has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in West Wickham?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in West Wickham conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Answering conveyancing due diligence enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in West Wickham
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for West Wickham leasehold property is £350. For West Wickham conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to provide answers.

    We have reached the end of our tether in negotiating a lease extension in West Wickham. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute 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 make a decision on the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a West Wickham premises is 26 Manor Road in July 2010. the Tribunal decided that price to be paid for the freehold was £12,420 This case affected 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 76.75 and 88.83.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in West Wickham