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

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Westminster, you will need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor with leasehold experience. Whether your lender is to be Halifax, Yorkshire Building Society or NatWest make sure you choose a lawyer on their panel. Feel free to use our search tool

Westminster leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Westminster. Before I get started I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all 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.

Jane (my partner) and I may need to sub-let our Westminster ground floor flat temporarily due to a new job. We used a Westminster conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Westminster do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Westminster where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Westminster conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 commence 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Westminster from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Westminster can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers lawyers.
  • A minority of Westminster leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is ongoing. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy process and slows down many a Westminster home move. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your lawyers. A purchaser'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 important at an as soon as possible 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.

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £400000 apartment in Westminster in just under a week. The management company has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Westminster?

    Westminster conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes ordinarily results in administration charges levied by managing agents :

    • Completing pre-contract enquiries
    • 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 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 obliged to provide answers.

    Having spent months of dialogue we cannot 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?

    in cases where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement 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 Lease Extension decision for a Westminster property 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 the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 56 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Westminster