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

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Sample questions relating to Westminster leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Westminster. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Westminster ?

Most houses in Westminster are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Westminster so you should seriously consider looking for a Westminster conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor should report to you on the legal implications.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Westminster. Conveyancing and Coventry Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in Westminster who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Westminster conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I work for a busy estate agent office in Westminster where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Westminster conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 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 disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Westminster from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Westminster can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • The majority landlords or managing agents in Westminster charge for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. 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 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 Westminster.
  • Some Westminster leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share document. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Westminster conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is 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 home on the market for sale.

  • Completion in due on the sale of our £175000 maisonette in Westminster in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Westminster?

    For most leasehold sales in Westminster 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 pre-contract questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Westminster
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • 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 Westminster leasehold property is £350. For Westminster 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 required to supply the information.

    I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in Westminster. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    if 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 LVT to assess the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Westminster residence is Flats 12A & 19, Evelyn Mansions Carlisle Place in June 2009. The Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the new lease of Flat 12A is £168,824, For the other flat the price was set at £169,110 This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 56 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Westminster