Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell:

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Clerkenwell leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Clerkenwell.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I own a leasehold house in Clerkenwell. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Clerkenwell who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Clerkenwell conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two maisonettes in Clerkenwell which have about 50 years remaining on the leases. should I be concerned?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the premises for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the value of the lease decreases and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. For this reason it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease as mortgage companies less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a difficult process. We recommend you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this field

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat 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 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. It is an essential part 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Clerkenwell state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. If you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a new share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a Clerkenwell conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but you should double-check via your lawyers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is below 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • Having spent years of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Clerkenwell. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    if there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to determine the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Clerkenwell property 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 related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.8 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Clerkenwell