Questions and Answers: Colney Hatch leasehold conveyancing
I only have 72 years remaining on my flat in Colney Hatch. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?
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 an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent should be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Colney Hatch.
I own a leasehold flat in Colney Hatch. Conveyancing and Chelsea Building Society mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing practitioner in Colney Hatch who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Colney Hatch conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured 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 am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Colney Hatch which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Colney Hatch is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with under 75 years become less and less marketable. 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 a residence 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 Colney Hatch conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Colney Hatch. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to 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).
I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Colney Hatch where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Colney Hatch conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
Provided that 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.
Following months of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Colney Hatch. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Colney Hatch conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Colney Hatch residence is 90 & 96 Poplar Grove in June 2013. It was held by the Tribunal that the premium to be paid for the new lease in respect of each of the flats referred should be £17,942 This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 68 years.