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Acton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Acton. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?

On the basis that 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 Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. For most situations a specialist would be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Acton.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Acton. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in Acton are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Acton so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Acton conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Acton where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Acton conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. 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 disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Acton conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Acton conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Acton conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Acton who can give a testimonial?

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £325000 flat in Acton in just under a week. The management company has quoted £312 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Acton?

    Acton conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes more often than not involves the purchaser’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to answer such questions most will be content to do so. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to complete the sale of your home.

    I am the proprietor of a ground-floor 1960’s flat in Acton. Given that I can not reach agreement with the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for the purchase of the freehold?

    if there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to assess the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Acton residence is 4 Woodhurst Road in July 2013. The Tribunals valuation for the premium to be paid in respect of the collective enfranchisement was £51,050. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 63.75 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Acton