Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Barbican:

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Barbican leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Barbican 1st floor flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We used a Barbican conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Barbican do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.

I only have Seventy years left on my lease in Barbican. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, 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 track down the lessor. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be used as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Barbican.

I own a leasehold flat in Barbican. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in Barbican who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Barbican conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am employed by a busy estate agency in Barbican where we see a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Barbican conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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 proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.

We expect to complete the disposal of our £225000 flat in Barbican on Monday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £348 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Barbican?

For the majority of leasehold sales in Barbican conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

  • Answering conveyancing due diligence questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in Barbican
  • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Barbican leasehold property is £350. For Barbican conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to supply answers.

I am the leaseholder of a basement flat in Barbican. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for a lease extension?

in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the price.

An example of a Lease Extension case 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 remaining number of years on the lease was 72.39 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Barbican