Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Battersea:

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Battersea leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I have recently realised that I have 72 years unexpired on my flat in Battersea. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that 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 enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent would be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. 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 overseeing Battersea.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Battersea. Conveyancing and National Westminster Bank mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Battersea who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Battersea conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Battersea. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).

I work for a long established estate agency in Battersea where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Battersea conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Battersea with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Battersea can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Battersea state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you fail to have the approvals to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in the first instance.
  • A minority of Battersea leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a new share certificate is often a time consuming formality and delays many a Battersea conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.

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

    Where there is a missing landlord or if 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 assess the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Battersea residence is 150A Albert Palace Mansions Lurline Gardens in July 2013. The Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the new lease of the subject property was £42,069 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 57.06 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Battersea