Fitzrovia leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Fitzrovia. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?
If 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent may be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Fitzrovia.
I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Fitzrovia.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
The sensible thing to do is pay 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 managing agents 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.
Back In 2005, I bought a leasehold house in Fitzrovia. Conveyancing and Leeds Building Society mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Fitzrovia who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Fitzrovia conveyancing lawyer to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Fitzrovia. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
In a situation 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).
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Fitzrovia conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Fitzrovia conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Fitzrovia conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- Can they put you in touch with client in Fitzrovia who can give a testimonial?
I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Fitzrovia conveyancing firm to assist?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Fitzrovia conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Fitzrovia property is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 73.26 years.