Leasehold Conveyancing in West Smithfield - Get a Quote from the leasehold experts approved by your lender

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Top Five Questions relating to West Smithfield leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in West Smithfield. Before I get started I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in West Smithfield - 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 want to rent out my leasehold apartment in West Smithfield. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

Your lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the flat owner; in particular, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in West Smithfield do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in West Smithfield both have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in West Smithfield is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with West Smithfield conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in West Smithfield from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in West Smithfield can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? West Smithfield leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Where you fail to have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer first.
  • Some West Smithfield leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 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 very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers 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 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 clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy process and slows down many a West Smithfield home move. Where a reissued share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this sooner rather than later.

  • I am the registered owner of a first floor flat in West Smithfield. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum due for the purchase of the freehold?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or if 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 Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a West Smithfield property is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 66.8 years.

    What are the frequently found defects that you see in leases for West Smithfield properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in West Smithfield. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. National Westminster Bank, Leeds Building Society, and Britannia 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 buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in West Smithfield