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Harrow leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Harrow. Before I set the wheels in motion I require certainty as to the number of years remaining on the lease.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - 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 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 all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Harrow. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Harrow ?

Most houses in Harrow are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in Harrow in which case you should be shopping around for a Harrow conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your lawyer should advise you fully on all the issues.

Back In 2000, I bought a leasehold house in Harrow. Conveyancing and Barclays mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Harrow who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Harrow conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line 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.

I am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Harrow where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Harrow conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Harrow with the aim of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harrow can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Harrow leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. Should you fail to have the approvals in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Harrow leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. The 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the freehold, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Arranging a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Harrow conveyancing transaction. Where a reissued share certificate is required, you should approach the company director and secretary 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 it would be wise to double-check via your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is below 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without success. Can I make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Harrow conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    if there is a missing freeholder or if there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to arrive at the amount due.

    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 affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 75.25 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Harrow