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Bowes Park leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Bowes Park. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What options are available to me?

On the basis that 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. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent should be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Bowes Park.

I work for a busy estate agency in Bowes Park where we see a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Bowes Park conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. 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 sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Bowes Park with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Bowes Park can be avoided where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Bowes Park leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Should you fail to have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your solicitor first.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a new share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Bowes Park conveyancing transaction. Where a new share certificate is required, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable double-check via your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • We expect to complete the sale of our £325000 flat in Bowes Park on Monday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £372 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Bowes Park?

    Bowes Park conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes more often than not involves the purchaser’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to such questions the majority will be content to do so. They are at liberty levy a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it is above £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality you have no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I have had difficulty in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Bowes Park. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    if there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Bowes Park residence is First Floor Flat 109 Lyndhurst Road in May 2010. Following a vesting order by Edmonton County Court on 29th October 2009 the Tribunal decided on a figure of £5,012 for a lease extension. This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 81.79 years.

    What makes a Bowes Park lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Bowes Park. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the property
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nottingham Building Society all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Bowes Park