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Belsize Park leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My wife and I may need to let out our Belsize Park 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Belsize Park conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Belsize Park 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.

Back In 2004, I bought a leasehold flat in Belsize Park. Conveyancing and Accord Mortgages Ltd mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing solicitor in Belsize Park who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

First contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Belsize Park conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Belsize Park. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Belsize Park from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Belsize Park can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Belsize Park levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Belsize Park.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Belsize Park leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you fail to have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Belsize Park leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 lawyers.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £350000 garden flat in Belsize Park on Monday in a week. The managing agents has quoted £372 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Belsize Park?

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

    • Completing pre-contract questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Belsize Park
    • 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 Belsize Park leasehold premises is £350. For Belsize Park 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 obliged to supply answers.

    I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can I apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Belsize Park conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Belsize Park conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Belsize Park residence is Raised Ground Floor Flat 20 Fitzjohns Avenue in July 2014. the Tribunal decided that the premiums to be paid for new leases in respect of the Raised Ground Floor Flat and the First Floor Flat were to be calculated as: Raised Ground Floor: £765,175.14 First Floor: £601,617.77 This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 16.83 and 16.43.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Belsize Park