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Top Five Questions relating to Blackfen leasehold conveyancing

I want to rent out my leasehold flat in Blackfen. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

A small minority of properties in Blackfen do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates 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 permission.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years remaining on my flat in Blackfen. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What options are available to me?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Blackfen.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Blackfen. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

In a situation 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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 Blackfen from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Blackfen can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • A minority of Blackfen leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Organising a new share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Blackfen conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is under 80 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £450000 apartment in Blackfen in 5 days. The management company has quoted £312 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Blackfen?

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

    • Answering pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Blackfen
    • Supplying insurance information
    • 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 Blackfen leasehold premises is £350. For Blackfen 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 required to supply answers.

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Blackfen conveyancing firm to help?

    if there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to make a decision on the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Blackfen premises is 103a Footscray Road in January 2014. The tribunal determines that the premium payable for the extended lease should be £34,500 according to the expert witness valuation calculation This case was in relation to 1 flat.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Blackfen