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Blackfriars leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have recently realised that I have 72 years left on my flat in Blackfriars. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report 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 property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Blackfriars.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Blackfriars both have approximately forty five years left on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Blackfriars is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Blackfriars conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Blackfriars. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

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).

I work for a busy estate agency in Blackfriars where we see a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Blackfriars conveyancing firms. Can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

Completion in due on the sale of our £450000 apartment in Blackfriars in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £396 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Blackfriars?

Blackfriars conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes ordinarily necessitates administration charges raised by management companies :

  • Answering pre-exchange questions
  • Where consent is required before sale in Blackfriars
  • 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 conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Blackfriars leasehold property is £350. For Blackfriars 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.

Despite our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in seeking a lease extension in Blackfriars. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the sum to be paid.

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Blackfriars premises 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 related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 66.8 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Blackfriars