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Brentford leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years unexpired on my flat in Brentford. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Brentford.

I am hoping to exchange soon on a leasehold property in Brentford. Conveyancing lawyers assured me that they will have a report out to me on Monday. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Brentford should include some of the following:

  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, landlord
  • The total extent of the demise. This will be the flat itself but could also incorporate a roof space or basement if applicable.
  • You need to be told what counts as a Nuisance in the lease
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this is subject to change
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For details of the information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Brentford please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in Brentford

  • Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Brentford. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

    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).

    I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Brentford where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Brentford conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

    As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

    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.

    What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Brentford conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

    If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Brentford conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Brentford 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 have they conducted in Brentford in the last year?

  • After months of dialogue we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Brentford. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    if there is a absentee freeholder 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 Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the premium.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Brentford premises is 105 & 105A Seaford Road in July 2013. The tribunal determined that the price payable for the freehold interest in the Property was £43,985 . This sum was to be paid into Brentford County Court to enable the matter to proceed This case affected 2 flats.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Brentford