Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Havering:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Havering leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Havering. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What are my options?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent should be useful to try and locate and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Havering.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Havering. Conveyancing and Nottingham Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing solicitor in Havering who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Havering conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Havering. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Havering with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Havering can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Havering state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Where you dont have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • A minority of Havering leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the lease term is less than 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I own a ground-floor 1960’s flat in Havering. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount payable for a lease extension?

    Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Havering conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Havering residence is 37 Lodge Court High Street in November 2013. the decision of the LVT was that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £25,559 This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 57.5 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Havering what are the most frequent lease problems?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Havering is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • 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. Nationwide Building Society, The Mortgage Works, and Aldermore all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Havering