Hammersmith leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I have just started marketing my garden flat in Hammersmith.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in Hammersmith. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Hammersmith ?
The majority of houses in Hammersmith are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Hammersmith so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Hammersmith conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First 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 obtaining the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor should report to you on the legal implications.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Hammersmith. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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 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 work for a reputable estate agent office in Hammersmith where we see a number of flat sales put at risk due to short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Hammersmith conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 sit tight for 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.
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.
All being well we will complete the sale of our £300000 garden flat in Hammersmith next week. The freeholder has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Hammersmith?
Hammersmith conveyancing on leasehold flats more often than not requires the purchaser’s conveyancer sending questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to these enquiries the majority will be willing to assist. They are at liberty levy 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 cases it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in respect of administration fees, otherwise the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to sell the property.
I am the registered owner of a ground-floor 1960’s flat in Hammersmith. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for a lease extension?
if there is a absentee freeholder 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 arrive at the sum to be paid.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Hammersmith property 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 affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 68.32 years.