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Questions and Answers: Barnes Cray leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 62 years unexpired on my flat in Barnes Cray. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. 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 for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Barnes Cray.

I own a leasehold house in Barnes Cray. Conveyancing and Santander mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing practitioner in Barnes Cray who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Barnes Cray conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Barnes Cray. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. However, 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 be sure 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 Barnes Cray with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Barnes Cray can be bypassed where you get in touch 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 approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Barnes Cray leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Barnes Cray leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Barnes Cray home move. If a duplicate share is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Following years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Barnes Cray. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Barnes Cray conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Barnes Cray property is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case was in relation to 13 flats. The unexpired term was 76 years.

    What makes a Barnes Cray lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Barnes Cray is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in 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 property
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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

    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. Yorkshire Building Society, Coventry Building Society, and Nottingham Building Society all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.