Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Harlington

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Questions and Answers: Harlington leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold flat in Harlington. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Do I need to ask my freeholder for permission?

A lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Harlington do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. Instead, there is usually simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Harlington. Conveyancing and Birmingham Midshires mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Harlington who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Harlington conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Harlington. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. However, 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 ensure 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Harlington from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harlington can be reduced if you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • Some Harlington leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. Any 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You may have to bite the bullet and pay 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Organising a re-issued share certificate is often a lengthy formality and delays many a Harlington conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if applicable) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be wise to double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Harlington. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a Harlington conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Harlington property is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case affected 2 flats. The unexpired term was 69 years.

    What makes a Harlington lease problematic?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Harlington is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can result in certain sections are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • Insurance obligations
    • 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 will likely cause problems when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Virgin Money, and Alliance & Leicester all have express conveyancing instructions 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 provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harlington