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Frequently asked questions relating to Harlesden leasehold conveyancing

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Harlesden garden flat for a while due to a career opportunity. We instructed a Harlesden conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your last Harlesden conveyancing lawyer is not available you can check your lease to see if you are permitted to let out the premises. The accepted inference is that if the lease is silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you are obliged to seek permission via your landlord or other appropriate person prior to subletting. This means that you cannot sublet without prior consent. The consent should not be unreasonably turned down. If your lease does not allow you to sublet you will need to ask your landlord if they are willing to waive this restriction.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Harlesden. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Harlesden ?

Most houses in Harlesden are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Harlesden in which case you should be looking for a Harlesden conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will advise you fully on all the issues.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Harlesden. Conveyancing and Godiva Mortgages Ltd mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Harlesden who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Harlesden conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Harlesden which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Harlesden is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Harlesden conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Harlesden from the perspective of saving time on the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harlesden can be reduced if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Harlesden charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Harlesden.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Arranging a new share certificate can be a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Harlesden conveyancing transaction. Where a reissued share certificate is required, you should approach the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this via your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the lease term is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is 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.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such issues? Can you recommend a Harlesden conveyancing firm to assist?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Harlesden premises is First Floor Flat 2B Fortune Gate Road in May 2013. the tribunal decided that the price payable for the lease extension was £9,331, together with £900 in respect of outstanding ground rent. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 74.31 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harlesden