Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Harefield

Any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in Harefield, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Harefield

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed flat in Harefield.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received 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 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 recently bought a leasehold house in Harefield. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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. It is an essential part 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 agency in Harefield where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Harefield conveyancing firms. Can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Harefield with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Harefield can be bypassed if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • A minority of Harefield leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is 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 actual amount of the service charge 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 very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and slows down many a Harefield conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. It is therefore important at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £300000 flat in Harefield in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £420 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Harefield?

    For most leasehold sales in Harefield conveyancing will involve, questions about the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing pre-exchange enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Harefield
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Harefield leasehold property is £350. For Harefield 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 supply the information.

    After years of correspondence we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Harefield. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Harefield residence 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 was in relation to 3 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 71 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harefield