Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Frognal:

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Frognal leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years left on my lease in Frognal. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is missing. What should I do?

If you qualify, 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 enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. On the whole a specialist should be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Frognal.

I am looking at a couple of maisonettes in Frognal which have in the region of forty five years remaining on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As a lease gets shorter the value of the lease deteriorate and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on properties of this type. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Frognal. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Frognal where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Frognal conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Frognal with the aim of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Frognal can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers solicitors.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Frognal levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Frognal.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Frognal leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Should you fail to have the consents in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • A minority of Frognal leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to 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 yearly 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Organising a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Frognal home move. Where a duplicate share certificate is required, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.

  • I own a ground floor flat in Frognal. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount payable for a lease extension?

    if there is a absentee freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the LVT to arrive at the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Frognal flat 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 related to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 16.83 and 16.43.