Common questions relating to South London leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in South London. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.
If the lease is registered - and most are in South London - 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 am looking at a couple of apartments in South London both have in the region of forty five years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are plenty of short leases in South London. The lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As the lease shortens the saleability of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We recommend you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in South London. Am I liable to pay 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. Strange as it may seem, 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 am employed by a long established estate agency in South London where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local South London conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start 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 prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is 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.
I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a South London conveyancing firm to help?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to assess the amount due.
An example of a Lease Extension case 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 the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 65.21 years.
What makes a South London lease problematic?
Leasehold conveyancing in South London is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You may 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. Halifax, Barnsley Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have express conveyancing instructions 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, obliging the purchaser to pull out.