Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel:

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Common questions relating to Whitechapel leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Whitechapel - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars 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.

There are only 72 years left on my lease in Whitechapel. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to track down the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Whitechapel.

I work for a reputable estate agency in Whitechapel where we have witnessed a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Whitechapel conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have 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 prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Whitechapel conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Whitechapel conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Whitechapel conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Whitechapel charge for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel.
  • A minority of Whitechapel 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 obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a lengthy process and frustrates many a Whitechapel home move. If a new share is necessary, do contact 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 conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Having spent months of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Whitechapel. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    if there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Whitechapel premises is 1-41 Royal Tower Lodge 40 Cartwright Street in April 2013. the tribunal adding the agreed value of capitalised ground rents and the reversion the price to be paid for the freehold was £1,187,000 This case was in relation to 41 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 107 years.