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Crouch End leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Crouch End.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the invoice 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 today plan to offer on a house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Crouch End. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Crouch End ?

The majority of houses in Crouch End are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Crouch End so you should seriously consider looking for a Crouch End conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

What are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Crouch End conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Crouch End conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Crouch End conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Crouch End who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Crouch End from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Crouch End can be avoided if you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
    • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Crouch End charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought 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 delay in leasehold conveyancing in Crouch End.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Crouch End state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. If you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor first.
  • A minority of Crouch End leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. 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 able to meet 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 purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy process and slows down many a Crouch End conveyancing transaction. If a new share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £250000 maisonette in Crouch End in just under a week. The management company has quoted £408 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Crouch End?

    Crouch End conveyancing on leasehold flats more often than not involves the buyer’s lawyer submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries the majority will be content to assist. They are entitled invoice a reasonable administration fee for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is above £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I am the registered owner of a two-bedroom flat in Crouch End. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the sum payable for a lease extension?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Crouch End residence is Flat 2A 19 Shepherds Hill in June 2014. The tribunal concluded in accordance with section 48 and schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act (the 1993 Act) that the premium payable in respect of the grant of a new lease for the Flat be £24,303 (twenty four thousand three hundred and three pounds) This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 67.85 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Crouch End