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Barnes leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed apartment in Barnes.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a half-yearly service charge demand – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is discharge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I've found a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Barnes. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Barnes ?

The majority of houses in Barnes 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. it is apparent that you are buying in Barnes so you should seriously consider looking for a Barnes conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.

I own a leasehold house in Barnes. Conveyancing and Alliance & Leicester mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Barnes who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Barnes conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. 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.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Barnes conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Barnes conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with several firms including non Barnes conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Barnes who can give a testimonial?

  • I have had difficulty in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Barnes. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Barnes residence is 25 Petley Road in February 2010. The Tribunal determined that the price payable for the freehold of the subject premises should be £18,760. This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 156.6 years and 66.6 years.

    What are the frequently found defects that you see in leases for Barnes properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Barnes. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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 problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Birmingham Midshires, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays Direct all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Barnes