Common questions relating to Harrow leasehold conveyancing
I’m about to sell my basement flat in Harrow.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear 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 unless 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I've found a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Harrow. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Harrow are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. We note that you are purchasing in Harrow so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Harrow conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Harrow. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
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).
Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Harrow from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harrow can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers representatives.
- In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Harrow leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such works. Where you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can I make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Harrow conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?
in cases where there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to arrive at the premium.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Harrow premises is flat 93b Welldon Crescent in May 2009. The Tribunals valuation for a 90-year lease extension of this fat was £13,171 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 75.25 years.
What are the frequently found defects that you come across in leases for Harrow properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Harrow is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You may encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. HSBC Bank, Barnsley Building Society, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.