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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years left on my flat in Clerkenwell. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What are my options?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. For most situations a specialist may be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Clerkenwell.

I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Clerkenwell where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Clerkenwell conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 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 prior to, or at the same time as 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 buyer.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Clerkenwell levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Clerkenwell leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence from the Landlord approving such works. Should you fail to have the consents in place you should not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • A minority of Clerkenwell leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy formality and slows down many a Clerkenwell conveyancing deal. If a reissued share certificate is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £325000 apartment in Clerkenwell next week. The landlords agents has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Clerkenwell?

    Clerkenwell conveyancing on leasehold flats more often than not involves the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer these enquiries the majority will be willing to assist. They are at liberty charge a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the charge is technically not due. In reality you have no option but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Clerkenwell. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to judgment on 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 66.8 years.

    What makes a Clerkenwell lease unmortgageable?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Clerkenwell is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You may encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Santander, Bank of Scotland, and Bank of Ireland all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Clerkenwell