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Questions and Answers: Harrow Weald leasehold conveyancing

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed flat in Harrow Weald.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a quarterly service charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge 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 managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Harrow Weald. Do I have any liability for 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 Harrow Weald with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Harrow Weald can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to collate the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Harrow Weald levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Harrow Weald.
  • A minority of Harrow Weald leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly 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 buyers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict 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 flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve 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 will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this by asking your lawyers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important 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 home on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete our sale of a £275000 apartment in Harrow Weald in just under a week. The management company has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Harrow Weald?

    Harrow Weald conveyancing on leasehold flats normally results in administration charges raised by landlords agents :

    • Addressing conveyancing due diligence questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Harrow Weald
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Harrow Weald leasehold premises is £350. For Harrow Weald conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to provide the information.

    Having spent years of dialogue we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Harrow Weald. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Harrow Weald conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Harrow Weald 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 remaining number of years on the lease was 75.25 years.

    What makes a Harrow Weald lease unacceptable for security purposes?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Harrow Weald is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in 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 premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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

    You will 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. Lloyds TSB Bank, Skipton Building Society, and TSB 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 problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to pull out.