Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Westminster

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Westminster, you will need to chose a conveyancing lawyer with leasehold experience. Whether your mortgage company is to be Lloyds, RBS or NatWest be sure to choose a lawyer on their panel. Feel free to use our search tool

Common questions relating to Westminster leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Westminster. Before diving in I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Westminster - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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.

I only have 62 years remaining on my lease in Westminster. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. For most situations an enquiry agent should be helpful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Westminster.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Westminster. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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).

Completion in due on our sale of a £225000 garden flat in Westminster on Tuesday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £336 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. 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, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

  • Addressing pre-exchange enquiries
  • Where consent is required before sale in Westminster
  • 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 Westminster leasehold premises 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.

Despite our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in negotiating a lease extension in Westminster. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to decide the sum to be paid.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Westminster flat 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 related to 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 56 years.

In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Westminster what are the most frequent lease problems?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Westminster. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
  • A duty to insure the building
  • 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

A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Nationwide Building Society, Barnsley Building Society, and Clydesdale all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Westminster