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Common questions relating to Bankside leasehold conveyancing

There are only 72 years left on my lease in Bankside. I now wish to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

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 extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent should be helpful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Bankside.

I am hoping to sign contracts shortly on a leasehold property in Bankside. Conveyancing lawyers have said that they are sending me a report tomorrow. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

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

  • The physical extent of the premises. This will be the property itself but might incorporate a loft or basement if appropriate.
  • Do you need to have carpet in the flat or are you allowed wood flooring?
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • The landlord’s rights to access the flat you be made aware that your landlord has rights of access and I know how much notice s/he must provide.
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your premises and do you know what it means in practice? For a comprehensive list of information to be contained in your report on your leasehold property in Bankside please enquire of your lawyer in ahead of your conveyancing in Bankside

  • I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Bankside both have approximately forty five years unexpired on the leases. should I be concerned?

    There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Bankside is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the value of the property. The majority of buyers and banks, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Bankside conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Bankside. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

    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. Strange as it may seem, 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 ensure 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 advice for leasehold conveyancing in Bankside from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bankside can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Bankside state that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • Some Bankside leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Bankside conveyancing transaction. If a reissued share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • Having spent months of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Bankside. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    if there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement 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 judgment on the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Bankside flat is 1-41 Royal Tower Lodge 40 Cartwright Street in April 2013. the tribunal adding the agreed value of capitalised ground rents and the reversion the price to be paid for the freehold was £1,187,000 This case was in relation to 41 flats. The unexpired lease term was 107 years.