Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Whitechapel

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Whitechapel leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed apartment in Whitechapel.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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 hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Whitechapel. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Whitechapel are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Whitechapel so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Whitechapel conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Whitechapel. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, 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).

I am employed by a busy estate agency in Whitechapel where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Whitechapel 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?

Provided that 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. The benefit of this is 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 has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Whitechapel can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Whitechapel leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such works. Should you dont have the paperwork in place you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • A minority of Whitechapel leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to 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 better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can one apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Whitechapel conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Whitechapel conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Whitechapel flat 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 affected 41 flats. The unexpired lease term was 107 years.