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Questions and Answers: Frognal leasehold conveyancing

I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Frognal. Before diving in I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.

Assuming the lease is registered - and almost all are in Frognal - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

Harry (my fiance) and I may need to rent out our Frognal garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Frognal conveyancing firm in 2003 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Frognal do not contain strict prohibition on subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Frognal conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Frognal conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with two or three firms including non Frognal conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Frognal who can give a testimonial?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Frognal from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Frognal can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ lawyers.
    • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Frognal charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Frognal.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Frognal state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Should you fail to have the paperwork in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your lawyer in advance.
  • Some Frognal leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £475000 maisonette in Frognal in nine days. The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Frognal?

    Frognal conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally requires the purchaser’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address these enquiries most will be willing to assist. They are entitled invoice a reasonable charge for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, otherwise the invoice is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.

    After years of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Frognal. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Frognal conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Frognal premises is Raised Ground Floor Flat 20 Fitzjohns Avenue in July 2014. the Tribunal decided that the premiums to be paid for new leases in respect of the Raised Ground Floor Flat and the First Floor Flat were to be calculated as: Raised Ground Floor: £765,175.14 First Floor: £601,617.77 This case affected 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 16.83 and 16.43.