Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Havering-atte-Bower:

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Havering-atte-Bower leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I only have Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Havering-atte-Bower. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the landlord. In some cases a specialist would be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be used as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Havering-atte-Bower.

I have just appointed agents to market my ground floor flat in Havering-atte-Bower.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I work for a busy estate agency in Havering-atte-Bower where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Havering-atte-Bower conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 sale.

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.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Havering-atte-Bower conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Havering-atte-Bower conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with several firms including non Havering-atte-Bower conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Havering-atte-Bower who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Havering-atte-Bower from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Havering-atte-Bower can be reduced if you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
    • The majority freeholders or managing agents in Havering-atte-Bower levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management information sought 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 usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Havering-atte-Bower.
  • A minority of Havering-atte-Bower leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is ongoing. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a Havering-atte-Bower conveyancing firm to represent me?

    in cases where there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to make a decision on the premium.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Havering-atte-Bower flat is 37 Lodge Court High Street in November 2013. the decision of the LVT was that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £25,559 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 57.5 years.