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Recently asked questions about conveyancing in Westminster

I require conveyancing for an apartment in a relatively new development (6 years old) in Westminster. Almost all the properties have already been sold. Is it strictly necessary to order local searches for my conveyancing in Westminster?

You would be taking a significant risk in not carrying out Westminster conveyancing searches. Without searches you have no clarity over flooding, environmental etc which may mean you walk away due to potential problems down the line. If you are buying mortgage free there is no legal requirement to have them, but we would absolutely advise in the strongest possible terms that you have them. Where timings and cost are top of your issues you should discuss with your conveyancer about the options such as indemnity insurance available to you

My partner and I are downsizing from our house in Westminster and according to the buyers it appears that there is a possibility that the property was built land that was not decontaminated. A high street Westminster lawyer would know that there is no such problem. For the life of me I don't know why the buyers instructed a factory type conveyancing firm rather than a conveyancing solicitor in Westminster. We have lived in Westminster for 5 years we know that this is a non issue. Should we contact our local Authority to seek confirmation need.

It would appear that you have a conveyancing lawyer currently acting for you. Are they able to advise? You must check with your lawyer before you do anything. It is very possible that once the local authority has been informed of a potential issue it cannot be insured against (a bit like being diagnosed with a serious illness and then taking out life insurance to cover that same ailment)

Just acquired a terraced house in Westminster , how long should it take for the Land Registry to record my ownership? My Westminster conveyancing solicitor has been very slow, so I want to be sure that my name is registered.

As far as conveyancing in Westminster is concerned, registration is no faster or slower than the rest of England and Wales. Rather than based on location, timescales can adjust subject to the party submitting the application, whether it is in order and if the Land registry communicate with any other persons or bodies. Currently approximately three quarters of such applications are completed in less than three weeks but some can be subject to longer delays. Historically registration takes place after the new owner has moved in to the property thus registration formalities is not typically an essential issue but where it is urgent that the the registration takes place urgently then you or your lawyers should contact the land registry and explain the circumstances.

Am I better off to appoint a Westminster conveyancing practitioner in close proximity to the house I am hoping to buy? An old friend can deal with the legal formalities but his firm is located 300kilometers away.

The primary upside of using a high street Westminster conveyancing firm is that you can attend the office to sign documents, hand in your ID and pester them if necessary. Having local Westminster know how is a bonus. However it's more important to get someone that will do a good and efficient job. If you know people who instructed your friend and they were happy that should surpass using an unfamiliar Westminster conveyancing solicitor just because they are local.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Westminster with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Westminster can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers’ representatives.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing. Many landlords or managing agents in Westminster charge for providing management packs for a leasehold home. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Westminster. You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should verify this by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale. If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Westminster conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.

I am the proprietor of a ground flat in Westminster. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium payable for a lease extension?

in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to make a decision on the sum to be paid.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Westminster residence 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 unexpired residue of the current lease was 56 years.

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