Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Blackfriars:

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Questions and Answers: Blackfriars leasehold conveyancing

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Blackfriars. Before diving in I want to be sure as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in Blackfriars - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Blackfriars basement flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Blackfriars conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Blackfriars do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably refuse but, in such cases, they would need to review 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.

I own a leasehold flat in Blackfriars. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Blackfriars who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a Blackfriars 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 advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Blackfriars conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Blackfriars conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Blackfriars conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm completed in Blackfriars in the last year?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Blackfriars from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Blackfriars can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers lawyers.
    • The majority landlords or managing agents in Blackfriars levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Blackfriars.
  • Some Blackfriars leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Blackfriars conveyancing deal. If a new share is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

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

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, 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 arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Blackfriars residence is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 66.8 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Blackfriars