Hammersmith leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Hammersmith.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly service charge demand – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is pay the invoice 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 management companies 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I've found a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Hammersmith. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Hammersmith ?
The majority of houses in Hammersmith are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Hammersmith in which case you should be looking for a Hammersmith conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer will advise you fully on all the issues.
I own a leasehold house in Hammersmith. Conveyancing and Virgin Money mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing solicitor in Hammersmith who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Hammersmith conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Hammersmith. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
In a situation 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. 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).
What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Hammersmith conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Hammersmith conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Hammersmith conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be of use:
- How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Having spent years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Hammersmith. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Hammersmith conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Hammersmith residence is 19 Crisp Road in June 2009. Following a vesting order (Under section 26 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act 1993) The tribunal determined that the premium payable for the acquisition of the freehold was £33,756,apportioned as to£12,285 for the lower at and £21,471for the upper fat. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 68.32 years.