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Questions and Answers: Gunnersbury leasehold conveyancing

I've found a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a leasehold house in Gunnersbury. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Gunnersbury ?

The majority of houses in Gunnersbury are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Gunnersbury so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Gunnersbury conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Gunnersbury which have approximately fifty years left on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Gunnersbury is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with less than 75 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 premises 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 Gunnersbury 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new 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 flat in Gunnersbury. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

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 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).

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Gunnersbury conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Gunnersbury conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Gunnersbury conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Gunnersbury in the last 12 months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £225000 flat in Gunnersbury on Friday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £372 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Gunnersbury?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in Gunnersbury conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Gunnersbury
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Gunnersbury leasehold premises is £350. For Gunnersbury conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide answers.

    Notwithstanding our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in trying to purchase the freehold in Gunnersbury. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the price payable.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Gunnersbury residence is 169 Southfield Road in September 2013. the tribunal decided that the premium to be paid in respect of the collective enfranchisement should be £51,203 This case affected 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 64.64 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Gunnersbury