Common questions relating to Hampstead leasehold conveyancing
I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Hampstead.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
The sensible thing to do is discharge 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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 appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Hampstead. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Hampstead ?
Most houses in Hampstead are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Hampstead so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Hampstead conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Hampstead. Am I liable to pay 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. However, 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).
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £450000 maisonette in Hampstead next week. The managing agents has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Hampstead?
Hampstead conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally involves the buyer’s lawyer sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to these enquiries most will be content to do so. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it exceeds £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality you have little option but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.
I am the leaseholder of a ground floor flat in Hampstead. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum due for the purchase of the freehold?
Where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement 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 Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Hampstead 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.
In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Hampstead what are the most common lease problems?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Hampstead. All leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain clauses are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.