Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Cricklewood

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Cricklewood leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Cricklewood 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Cricklewood conveyancing firm in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Cricklewood do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Cricklewood both have in the region of forty five years left on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are plenty of short leases in Cricklewood. The lease is a right to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As the lease shortens the value of the lease reduces and it becomes more expensive to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Cricklewood. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation 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. 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 Cricklewood with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Cricklewood can be avoided where you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Cricklewood state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord consenting to such changes. Where you dont have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor first.
  • A minority of Cricklewood leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat 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 the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Cricklewood home move. If a new share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £200000 garden flat in Cricklewood in just under a week. The management company has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Cricklewood?

    For most leasehold sales in Cricklewood conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing conveyancing due diligence questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Cricklewood
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Cricklewood leasehold property is £350. For Cricklewood 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 provide answers.

    I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal decide on such issues? Can you recommend a Cricklewood conveyancing firm to help?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Cricklewood conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Cricklewood property is 73 and 73a St. Pauls Avenue in October 2013. the Tribunal held in accordance with section32 and Schedule 6 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the enfranchisement was fifty three thousand three hundred and sixty one pounds (£53,361.00) This case affected 2 flats. The unexpired term was 64.61 and 67.18.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Cricklewood