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Barbican leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I only have Seventy years unexpired on my lease in Barbican. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?

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 demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord 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 covering Barbican.

I've found a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Barbican. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Barbican are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Barbican so you should seriously consider looking for a Barbican 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. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

Back In 2004, I bought a leasehold house in Barbican. Conveyancing and Barclays Direct mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Barbican who previously acted has long since retired.What should I do?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Barbican conveyancing lawyer 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 rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am looking at a two maisonettes in Barbican both have approximately fifty years remaining on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Barbican is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat 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 a residence 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 Barbican 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.

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such matters? Can you recommend a Barbican conveyancing firm to help?

if there is a missing freeholder or if 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 make a decision on the premium.

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Barbican flat is 137 & 139 Haberdasher Street in December 2013. The Tribunal determines in accordance with section 48 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease for each Property should be £12,350.00. This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired term was 72.39 years.

In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Barbican what are the most frequent lease defects?

Leasehold conveyancing in Barbican is not unique. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
  • A duty to insure the building
  • 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

You may encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Barclays , Chelsea Building Society, and Aldermore all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Barbican