Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Smithfield:

While any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in Smithfield, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: Smithfield leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Smithfield. Before I get started I would like to find out the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Smithfield - 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.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Smithfield.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you pay the invoice 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 until 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Smithfield. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

In a situation 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 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Smithfield where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Smithfield conveyancing firms. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the buyer?

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 buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with 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 purchaser.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Smithfield from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Smithfield can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers lawyers.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in Smithfield charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Smithfield.
  • A minority of Smithfield leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand 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 you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I own a split level flat in Smithfield, conveyancing was carried out 8 years ago. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Smithfield with a long lease are worth £188,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 charged once a year. The lease ends on 21st October 2083

    With 59 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £25,700 and £29,600 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Smithfield