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Frequently asked questions relating to Finsbury Park leasehold conveyancing

There are only Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Finsbury Park. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. 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 apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to find the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent would be useful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Finsbury Park.

I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Finsbury Park.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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 until 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 am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Finsbury Park both have approximately 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Finsbury Park is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Finsbury Park conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Finsbury Park. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, 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).

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Finsbury Park with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Finsbury Park can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Finsbury Park levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Finsbury Park.
  • 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 nervous about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Arranging a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and delays many a Finsbury Park home move. Where a new share certificate is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I am the leaseholder of a ground floor flat in Finsbury Park. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to calculate the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Finsbury Park residence is 51 Lorne Road in November 2009. The price Payable as decided by the tribunal for the freehold reversion was £27,000. The valuation follows the order of the County Court made on 3 April 2008 granting a vesting order. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 71 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Finsbury Park