Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Hampstead

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Top Five Questions relating to Hampstead leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement apartment in Hampstead.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?

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 managing agents 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 work for a long established estate agent office in Hampstead where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Hampstead conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 purchaser.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Hampstead conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Hampstead conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with two or three firms including non Hampstead conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £425000 maisonette in Hampstead in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £372 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Hampstead?

    Hampstead conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes nine out of ten times necessitates fees being invoiced by management companies :

    • Addressing pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Hampstead
    • Supplying insurance information
    • 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 Hampstead leasehold premises is £350. For Hampstead 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 obliged to provide answers.

    Following months of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Hampstead. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Hampstead conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Hampstead property 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 affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 16.83 and 16.43.

    What makes a Hampstead lease problematic?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Hampstead. All leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, Leeds Building Society, and Bank of Ireland all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hampstead