Harrow leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Harrow. Before diving in I require certainty as to the unexpired term of the lease.
Assuming the lease is registered - and almost all are in Harrow - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I own a leasehold house in Harrow. Conveyancing and Britannia mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in Harrow who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?
The first thing you should do is make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to instruct a Harrow conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Harrow. 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).
Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Harrow conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Harrow conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Harrow conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
Following years of negotiations we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Harrow. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?
Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Harrow conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Harrow flat 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 affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 75.25 years.
What are the frequently found problems that you encounter in leases for Harrow properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Harrow. All leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
You may have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Nationwide Building Society, Leeds Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.