Top Five Questions relating to Finchley leasehold conveyancing
I only have 62 years remaining on my lease in Finchley. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?
If 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 granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent should be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Finchley.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Finchley. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 a negotiator for a busy estate agency in Finchley where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Finchley conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as 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 buyer.
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Finchley conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Finchley conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with several firms including non Finchley conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:
- If the firm is not ALEP accredited then why not?
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Finchley from the point of view of expediting the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Finchley can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
- Some Finchley 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. 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in Finchley. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to decide the sum to be paid.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Finchley premises is Ground Floor 110 Station Road in June 2013. The Tribunal found that the premium payable for a lease extension should be £31,665. This case related to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 56.65 years.