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Acton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

There are only 68 years unexpired on my flat in Acton. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist should be helpful to conduct investigations and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Acton.

Expecting to sign contracts shortly on a ground floor flat in Acton. Conveyancing solicitors assured me that they report fully on Monday. What should I be looking out for?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Acton should include some of the following:

  • You should be sent a copy of the lease
  • The unexpired lease term You should be advised as what happens when the lease expires, and aware of the importance of the 80 year mark
  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • Setting out your legal entitlements in relation to the communal areas in the building.By way of example, does the lease provide for a right of way over an accessway or hallways?
  • Do you need to have carpet in the flat or are you allowed wood flooring?
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice? For details of the information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Acton please ask your conveyancer in advance of your conveyancing in Acton

  • I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Acton.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

    It best that you clear the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

    I've recently bought a leasehold property in Acton. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    In a situation 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. It is an essential part 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).

    I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Acton where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Acton conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

    As long as the seller has owned the lease 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

    Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

    Following years of dialogue we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Acton. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the amount due.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Acton property 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 affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 63.75 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Acton