Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Westminster
I have just started marketing my basement apartment in Westminster.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?
The sensible thing to do is 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 managing agents 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 two flats in Westminster which have approximately 50 years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?
There are plenty of short leases in Westminster. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As a lease shortens the marketability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises 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 seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field
I am employed by a long established estate agency in Westminster where we see a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Westminster conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as 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. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as 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.
Completion in due on the disposal of our £275000 flat in Westminster on Tuesday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £396 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Westminster?
Westminster conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes more often than not requires the purchaser’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer these enquiries most will be willing to assist. They are entitled levy a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have no option but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.
Following years of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Westminster. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Westminster conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal 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.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Westminster what are the most frequent lease defects?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Westminster. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Yorkshire Building Society, Bank of Scotland, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to withdraw.