Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Clerkenwell

While any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Questions and Answers: Clerkenwell leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Clerkenwell. Conveyancing and HSBC Bank mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing solicitor in Clerkenwell who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to instruct a Clerkenwell conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Clerkenwell. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. A critical element 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).

What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Clerkenwell conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Clerkenwell 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 several firms including non Clerkenwell 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:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Clerkenwell who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell with the intention of saving time on the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ representatives.
    • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Clerkenwell charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell.
  • A minority of Clerkenwell leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying 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 lawyers.
  • If there is a history of 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 warry about purchasing a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share document. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a time consuming formality and slows down many a Clerkenwell conveyancing deal. If a new share certificate is needed, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £175000 maisonette in Clerkenwell in six days. The managing agents has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Clerkenwell?

    Clerkenwell conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes nine out of ten times results in administration charges raised by managing agents :

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

    I own a a ground floor purpose built flat in Clerkenwell. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for a lease extension?

    Where 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 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to arrive at the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Clerkenwell 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 affected 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 66.8 years.

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    Lease Extensions in Clerkenwell