Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Dagenham:

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Top Five Questions relating to Dagenham leasehold conveyancing

I only have 62 years remaining on my flat in Dagenham. I now wish to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?

On the basis that 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to track down the lessor. On the whole a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Dagenham.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement flat in Dagenham.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

It best that you pay 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 management companies 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Dagenham where we see a number of flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Dagenham conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-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 prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Dagenham with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Dagenham can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Dagenham levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Dagenham.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Dagenham state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Should you dont have the consents to hand do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in advance.
  • A minority of Dagenham leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than unresolved.

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

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Dagenham property is 49 Aldborough Road South in July 2012. The Tribunal decided that the premium payable for the grant of the new lease was £13,925 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 61.36 years.

    Are there common problems that you see in leases for Dagenham properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Dagenham is not unique. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Virgin Money, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Dagenham