Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in St James

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St James leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in St James which have approximately fifty years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in St James. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is generally wise to extend the lease term. It is often difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this field

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in St James. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

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. A critical element 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).

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a St James conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a St James conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non St James conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in St James in the last 12 months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in St James from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in St James can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
    • A minority of St James leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any 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 solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of 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 better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a St James conveyancing transaction. Where a reissued share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to verify this via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • After years of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in St James. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a St James conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a St James property is Flats 12A & 19, Evelyn Mansions Carlisle Place in June 2009. The Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the new lease of Flat 12A is £168,824, For the other flat the price was set at £169,110 This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired term was 56 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in St James what are the most frequent lease problems?

    Leasehold conveyancing in St James is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in 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 building
    • 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

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and TSB all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St James