Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Chalk Farm

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Chalk Farm leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

There are only 62 years left on my flat in Chalk Farm. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application 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 made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. On the whole a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be used as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Chalk Farm.

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Chalk Farm.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a yearly service charge demand – Do I pay up?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Chalk Farm. Do I have any liability for 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 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • A minority of Chalk Farm leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents 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 annual 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and delays many a Chalk Farm home move. Where a duplicate share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I am the proprietor of a basement flat in Chalk Farm. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Chalk Farm flat is Flat 2 27 Mackeson Road in December 2012. The Tribunal assessed the value of the lease extension premium at £35,435 and rounded the figure to £35,500 This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 64.77 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm what are the most common lease problems?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Chalk Farm. All leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are erroneous. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    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. Birmingham Midshires, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Clydesdale all have express 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, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Chalk Farm