Frequently asked questions relating to East Sheen leasehold conveyancing
I only have Seventy years unexpired on my lease in East Sheen. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply 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 Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing East Sheen.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in East Sheen. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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 employed by a long established estate agent office in East Sheen where we see a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local East Sheen conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in East Sheen from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in East Sheen can be avoided where you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
- Many landlords or Management Companies in East Sheen levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in East Sheen.
We expect to complete the disposal of our £350000 garden flat in East Sheen in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in East Sheen?
East Sheen conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes often involves the buyer’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is above £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the charge is technically not due. 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.
My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in East Sheen. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the LVT to calculate the premium.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a East Sheen property is 19 St. Margarets Crescent in August 2010. the tribunal was of the view that the premium to be paid by the leaseholder for the freehold reversion was £51,983.00 This case affected 3 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.25 years.