Frequently asked questions relating to City Of London leasehold conveyancing
I have recently realised that I have Seventy years remaining on my flat in City Of London. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering City Of London.
Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold house in City Of London. Conveyancing and TSB mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in City Of London who acted for me is not around.What should I do?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a City Of London conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I am employed by a reputable estate agency in City Of London where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local City Of London conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is 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 buyer.
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a City Of London conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a City Of London conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you speak with several firms including non City Of London conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
What makes a City Of London lease unmortgageable?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in City Of London. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
- 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
You could encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.
I bought a split level flat in City Of London, conveyancing formalities finalised 7 years ago. Can you let me have an estimate of the premium that my landlord can legally expect in return for granting a renewal of my lease? Comparable flats in City Of London with a long lease are worth £236,000. The ground rent is £45 per annum. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2099
With 77 years unexpired we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £8,600 and £9,800 plus professional fees.
The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive investigations. Do not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be other concerns that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not move forward placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.