Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Victoria:

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

Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Victoria

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Victoria. Before diving in I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Victoria - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details 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 recently realised that I have 62 years unexpired on my lease in Victoria. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What should I do?

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 granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Victoria.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Victoria. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Victoria ?

Most houses in Victoria are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Victoria so you should seriously consider looking for a Victoria conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Victoria from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Victoria can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Victoria charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Victoria.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Victoria state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord approving such changes. Where you fail to have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • Some Victoria leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £250000 garden flat in Victoria next week. The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Victoria?

    Victoria conveyancing on leasehold flats usually requires the purchaser’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions most will be willing to assist. They are entitled charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, otherwise the charge is technically not due. In reality one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to sell the property.

    I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such matters? Can you recommend a Victoria conveyancing firm to assist?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Victoria flat 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 affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 56 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Victoria