Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in South London:

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in South London, you will need to instruct a conveyancing lawyer with leasehold experience. Whether your mortgage company is to be Santander, Birmingham Midshires or Nationwide make sure you choose a lawyer on their panel. Find a South London conveyancing lawyer with our search tool

Sample questions relating to South London leasehold conveyancing

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor apartment in South London.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

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 management companies 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 own a leasehold house in South London. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in South London who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a South London conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I work for a long established estate agency in South London where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local South London conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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. 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 disposal of the property.

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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in South London with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in South London can be avoided if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? South London leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. If you fail to have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • A minority of South London leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat 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 completion of the sale. 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term 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 £500000 apartment in South London next week. The freeholder has quoted £348 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in South London?

    South London conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually necessitates the purchaser’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries the majority will be content to assist. They are entitled levy a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that you have little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in South London. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    if there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to determine the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a South London flat is Flat B 10 Grove Avenue in October 2013. Following a vesting order Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court 3rd July 2013 The tribunal determines that the premium payable for the lease extension was £36,215.00 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 65.21 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in South London