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Questions and Answers: Woolwich leasehold conveyancing

There are only 72 years remaining on my flat in Woolwich. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

If 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 extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. For most situations a specialist should be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Woolwich.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Woolwich. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Woolwich are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Woolwich in which case you should be looking for a Woolwich conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should report to you on the legal implications.

I own a leasehold house in Woolwich. Conveyancing and The Mortgage Works mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Woolwich who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Woolwich conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Woolwich. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 have had difficulty in negotiating a lease extension in Woolwich. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

if there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the LVT to calculate the price payable.

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Woolwich residence is 46 Credon Road in January 2014. On 11 September 2013 Deputy District Judge Price sitting at the Bow County Court made a vesting order that the freeholder surrender his lease and be granted a new lease of the Premises on such terms as may be determined by the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).The appropriate sum as concluded by the Tribunal was £7225 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 69.77 years.

What makes a Woolwich lease unacceptable for security purposes?

Leasehold conveyancing in Woolwich is not unique. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
  • A duty to insure the building
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

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. National Westminster Bank, Coventry Building Society, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Woolwich