Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in West London:

While any conveyancing practice can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in West London, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: West London leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in West London. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and most are in West London - 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 am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in West London. Conveyancing solicitors have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in West London are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in West London so you should seriously consider looking for a West London conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in West London. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in West London who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a West London conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I work for a long established estate agency in West London where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local West London conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is 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 has to be done before, or simultaneously with 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 purchaser.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in West London from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in West London can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in West London levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have 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 reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in West London.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? West London leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you fail to have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in the first instance.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and 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 buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and slows down many a West London conveyancing transaction. Where a duplicate share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • Having spent years of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in West London. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a West London conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a West London flat is 137 & 139 Haberdasher Street in December 2013. The Tribunal determines in accordance with section 48 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease for each Property should be £12,350.00. This case affected 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 72.39 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in West London