Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in East Barnet:

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Questions and Answers: East Barnet leasehold conveyancing

I wish to sublet my leasehold apartment in East Barnet. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

Notwithstanding that your previous East Barnet conveyancing solicitor is no longer around you can review your lease to check if you are permitted to let out the property. The accepted inference is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is allowed. There may be a precondition that you need to obtain consent from your landlord or some other party before subletting. The net result is you not allowed to sublet without prior permission. The consent is not allowed to be unreasonably refused ore delayed. If the lease prohibits you from subletting the property you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I have recently realised that I have 62 years left on my flat in East Barnet. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

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 for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing East Barnet.

I am a negotiator for a busy estate agency in East Barnet where we see a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local East Barnet conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with 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.

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

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in East Barnet can be reduced if you appoint lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in East Barnet levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. 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 frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in East Barnet.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in East Barnet state that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. Should you fail to have the paperwork in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor before hand.
  • A minority of East Barnet 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 obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.

  • We expect to complete the disposal of our £350000 garden flat in East Barnet on Wednesday in a week. The management company has quoted £408 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in East Barnet?

    East Barnet conveyancing on leasehold flats normally requires the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They may charge a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can a leaseholder apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a East Barnet conveyancing firm to assist?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a East Barnet conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a East Barnet premises is 23 Beaconsfield Road in July 2013. The Tribunals decided that the amount payable was £31,203 for the freehold. This case related to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 70.31 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in East Barnet