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Greenwich leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I only have Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Greenwich. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the landlord. For most situations a specialist should be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Greenwich.

I am looking at a two maisonettes in Greenwich which have in the region of fifty years unexpired on the lease term. Do I need to be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Greenwich is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat 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 Greenwich conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed 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 Greenwich. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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 be sure 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 busy estate agent office in Greenwich where we see a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given conflicting advice from local Greenwich conveyancing solicitors. Can you clarify whether the vendor 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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 offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Greenwich conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Greenwich conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Greenwich conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in Greenwich. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Greenwich conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Greenwich premises is 73 Walerand Road in August 2012. the result of the findings of the Tribunal led to a premium to be paid for the extended lease in respect of Flat 73 in the sum of £10,040. The premium applicable in respect of Flat 85 was £5,710. This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired term was 72 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Greenwich