Frequently asked questions relating to Canary Wharf leasehold conveyancing
Expecting to complete next month on a garden flat in Canary Wharf. Conveyancing solicitors have said that they are sending me a report within the next couple of days. What should I be looking out for?
Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Canary Wharf should include some of the following:
- Whether the lease restricts you from renting out the flat, or having a home office for business
Back In 2001, I bought a leasehold house in Canary Wharf. Conveyancing and Nationwide Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Canary Wharf who previously acted has long since retired.Any advice?
The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Canary Wharf conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Canary Wharf which have in the region of 50 years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Canary Wharf is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 premises 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 Canary Wharf conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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.
I work for a long established estate agent office in Canary Wharf where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Canary Wharf conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as 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. This means that the buyer need not have 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 simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is 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 Canary Wharf from the point of view of saving time on the sale process?
- Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Canary Wharf can be reduced where you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Canary Wharf leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. If you fail to have the approvals to hand do not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
I am the leaseholder of a two-bedroom flat in Canary Wharf. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount due for the purchase of the freehold?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Canary Wharf conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Canary Wharf premises is 12, 14 & 16 Hull Close in May 2010. the Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold to the subject premises was the sum of £18,300 This case affected 3 flats. The unexpired term was 101.61 years.