Harlington leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I own a leasehold house in Harlington. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Harlington who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Harlington conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Harlington. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner 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. A critical element 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 am employed by a busy estate agent office in Harlington where we have witnessed a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Harlington conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process 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 commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 are your top tips when it comes to choosing a Harlington conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Harlington conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Harlington conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Notwithstanding our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Harlington. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to assess the sum to be paid.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Harlington residence 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 related to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 69 years.
In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Harlington what are the most common lease defects?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Harlington. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
- 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 can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Santander, Bank of Scotland, and Aldermore all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the purchaser to pull out.