Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Barbican:

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Common questions relating to Barbican leasehold conveyancing

I only have Fifty years left on my lease in Barbican. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that 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 magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent should be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Barbican.

I've found a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it all the more appealing. I have since found out that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Barbican. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Barbican are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Barbican so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Barbican conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee 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 maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of flats in Barbican which have about 50 years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Barbican. The lease is a right to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the marketability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is generally wise to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We advise that you get professional assistance from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this arena

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Barbican from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Barbican can be avoided if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Barbican leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you dont have the consents in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer first.
  • Some Barbican leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Obtaining a re-issued share certificate can be a time consuming process and slows down many a Barbican conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • After years of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Barbican. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    if there is a missing landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the LVT to decide the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision 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 affected 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 72.39 years.

    When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Barbican what are the most common lease defects?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Barbican is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Lloyds TSB Bank, Chelsea Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Barbican