Looking for a solicitor to deal with the conveyancing of your London property? What is the best option for you?
We are solicitors based in East London who deal with all types of residential and commercial property including flats houses and shops.
We provide a competitive fixed price service. We have been established in the area for over 80 years.
What will it cost me in if I buy or sell in London?
To give you an idea of the costs if you were selling a leasehold flat at a price of £350,000 our fees would be £725 plus VAT.
If you were buying a leasehold flat at £400,000 our fees are £799 plus VAT (plus the stamp duty, searches and disbursements).
Stamp Duty can vary depending on whether you are a first time buyer, buying your home to live in or a buy to let investor (see https://www.ker.co.uk/second-owners-and-buy-to-lets-additional-stamp-duty/)
It is easy to obtain an instant quote for conveyancing matters via our website
For an exact quote on your circumstances you can call 01708 757575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Sadler) for a personalised quote. We can discuss any stamp duty issues at the start.
How are your charges calculated?
We generally charge on a sliding scale based on the type of property (freehold or leasehold) and the value. The more expensive properties are chared at higher rates and leasehold property (a flat or maisonette with or without a share of freehold) is more expensive that a freehold property (house or bungalow).
Why is leasehold conveyancing more expensive?
Broadly leasehold is more expensive because we have more documentation to go through including the lease (this document sets out the manner in which you interact with your neighbours and the communal obligations which apply to your property). The lease itself may run to 30-40 pages. This means that the lease terms need to be considered carefully as they can have errors or be otherwise poorly drafted and of course if there is a management structure in place we need to investigate the nature of that structure and what plans are for works on the building.
We often also need to raise and consider enquiries obtained directly from the landlord or managing agent. In effect we are looking for major bills or works in the future which may affect your contribution to the cost of the overall building repair.
Selling Leasehold Property – are there any additional costs to budget for?
Our on line fee quote for leasehold matters includes within the fixed price any supplemental fees you may find hidden in terms and conditions of other lawyers as we know it is leasehold from the start.
However you do need to budget for the management pack on the sale – this can vary from £150 or so to £3-400 depending on the combination of landlord, managing agent and management company you have – they all may charge a different fee.
On a leasehold purchase you will also need to include the notice fees payable to the landlord which again can vary from £10 to again several hundred pounds for commercial landlords/managing agents. There may be other charges associated with restriction consents and deeds of covenant.
Why do managing agents charge such high fees for information in relation to leasehold property?
They know they have a captive audience. Although such costs are treated as Administrative Charges and may be subject to challenge this is little help when you are selling and time is of the essence. Even if you did challenge this then you would be highlighting to your buyer one of the issues of buying a leasehold property.
What is a service charge?
The amount you pay, usually annually towards the upkeep of the external parts of a leasehold building and this usually includes the buildings insurance (but not contents). Service charges can also apply to some freehold properties for example gated estates. These costs are usually for such things as the roadway and communal services.
Service charges in leasehold blocks can vary widely – from £1000 to many thousands per year. You need to get this information from the seller early on to ensure you do not find the service charge is excessive.
Beware also of relatively low service charges especially in ex-local authority block such as the Barbican where there is no sinking fund within the service charges which would smooth out the cost of major works.
Service charges on freehold property should only be a few hundred pounds per year.
What is the biggest problem with leasehold property at the moment?
There is a lot of concern about the level of ground rents. This is largely caused by the Taylor Wimpey leases which have ground rents which double every 10 years for the first 50 years. This has made them undesirable and therefore the key is to look out for leases which cause unpredictable or high increases. This can impact on the lease extension costs and mortgageability of the flat.
But don’t forget the bigger picture. In London the value of the rent versus the value of the flat is far different to the rest of the country. Still consider the key issues with leasehold namely the length of the lease and the management charges / major works pending on the building.
Major Works – what are they?
If you are buying leasehold you need to consider what is coming down the line in terms of service charge or maintenance fees. Part of this is going to be common sense. If the building is in a poor state and condition externally and in the common areas then there is going to be a big bill coming down the line unless the service charge has a large sinking or reserve fund pot. This disrepair can also point to other problems with the maintenance of the building such as a lack of leadership or direction especially on smaller building which are self managed. These may be points to highlight and discuss with a surveyor before you get too far down the line.
We also raise specific enquiries on leasehold matters with the management company – if major works are planned normally there is a long consultation process so they are clear to spot in advance. Questions are raised as to whether there are sufficient funds available to cover these costs within the normal service charge budget.
Short Leases – what are they?
Short Lease’ cause problems for resale and refinance. However what is considered a short lease is a moving target. This is again driven by lenders who have considerably tightened their requirements for leases since the 2008 crash. Anything around 75 years or less is considered to be short and the lender may not lend (particularly for buy to let) or the valuation may be affected.
Clearly a long lease is worth more. We can assist in advising on the possible routes to extent (formally or informally) as part of the conveyancing process and the possible premium payable to the landlord and additional costs involved. You can commence the formal lease extension process as part of the conveyancing by arranging for the seller to serve a section 42 notice on the landlord and taking an assignment of the benefit of the notice on completion (subject to registration). This avoids the need for you to wait the 2 year qualification period (although this period and the complications around the assignment of the notice are likely to be scrapped following the current consultation on leasehold reform)
If the block is a share of freehold there is a good chance that the lease can be extended without a premium – we do a lot of work in the share of freehold sector and can assist in asking the right conveyancing questions.
What is the biggest problem with freehold property at the moment?
Probably the price in London.
Are there any other costs to budget for when selling a freehold property?
Nothing significant. Sometimes we need to obtain additional documents from the Land Registry which are £3.00 each and often we need planning and building regulations documents from the council. Whilst much of this information is available without charge some councils will charge £20-30 for copies of historical building regulations consents for example.
Where we can help
We specialise in conveyancing matters (buying and selling) in London.
We are involved heavily in leasehold work regarding flats with a share of freehold, lease extensions, loft conversions and consents to alterations. This puts us in a position to assist you more clearly on your leasehold purchase.
As a specialist firm of conveyancing solicitors you can obtain a free conveyancing quote (no personal details or email address required).
We are a modern firm – all our lawyers have direct line and direct emails – this is the preferred means of communication for many clients.
We also provide a high quality service – we are part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
At kenneth elliott + rowe we believe our fixed price quote delivers excellent value for money. The quote is subject to our Terms and Conditions but there are No Hidden Extras.
Our guide to Unknown Costs and Limitations will give you an idea on what other possible costs or expenses to budget for.
What happens to the cost if things don’t go to plan?
Remember if the process drags on, kenneth elliott + rowe will not hit you with additional charges. Our price is fixed.
If you need a quote please visit our quote site or call 01708 757575 and ask for Mark Sadler, Mouzzam Yamin, David Farr, Keith Darvill or Fred Rylah.
For an exact quote on your circumstances you can use our free on line quote system (no need to insert your email address or any contact details) http://www.convey-quote.co.uk
or call 01708 757575 or email email@example.com (Mark Sadler) for a personlised quote.
We just need confirmation of the type of property (freehold or leasehold), price, whether you are obtaining a mortgage and of course whether you are selling, buying or both.