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Frequently asked questions relating to Harefield leasehold conveyancing

Jane (my partner) and I may need to rent out our Harefield ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Harefield conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

Your lease governs relations between the landlord and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Harefield do not contain subletting altogether – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the tenancy agreement.

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Harefield.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

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 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.

Back In 2009, I bought a leasehold flat in Harefield. Conveyancing and Bank of Scotland mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in Harefield who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of HMLR to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Harefield conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a Harefield conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Harefield conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Harefield 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 experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Harefield with the purpose of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harefield can be reduced where you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Harefield state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Where you dont have the consents to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer before hand.
  • Some Harefield leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a Harefield conveyancing deal. If a new share certificate is required, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.

  • I am the leaseholder of a first floor flat in Harefield. 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?

    Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a Harefield conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Harefield flat is Flats 8, 11 and 15 Craigmore Court 46 Murray Road in December 2013. The tribunal held that the price payable by the Applicant tenant of Flat 8 to acquire an extended lease shall be £26,438 plus £1 to the intermediate lessee . The tribunal held that the price payable by the Applicant tenants of Flat 11 to acquire an extended lease shall be £26,791 plus £1 to the intermediate lessee. The tribunal held that the price payable by the Applicant tenant of Flat 15 to acquire an extended lease shall be £26,638 plus £1 to the intermediate lessee . This case related to 3 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 71 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harefield