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Recently asked questions relating to Finsbury Park leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to rent out our Finsbury Park 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Finsbury Park conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

The lease dictates the relationship between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Finsbury Park do not contain subletting altogether – such a clause would adversely affect the market value the flat. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement apartment in Finsbury Park.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Finsbury Park. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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 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 work for a long established estate agency in Finsbury Park where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Finsbury Park conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that 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. This means 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 has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Finsbury Park with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Finsbury Park can be bypassed where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Finsbury Park levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Finsbury Park.
  • Some Finsbury Park leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 lawyers.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Obtaining a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy formality and slows down many a Finsbury Park home move. If a reissued share certificate is necessary, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • After months of dialogue we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Finsbury Park. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Where there is a absentee 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 LVT to calculate the price.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Finsbury Park flat 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 affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 71 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Finsbury Park