Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Hendon:

While any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in Hendon, your mortgage provider may not be willing to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Hendon leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Frank (my husband) and I may need to let out our Hendon garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Hendon conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

A small minority of properties in Hendon do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to see references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden apartment in Hendon.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a half-yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is 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 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.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Hendon which have approximately forty five years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Hendon is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. For most buyers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Hendon conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Hendon. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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).

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Hendon conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

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

An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Hendon flat is First Floor Flat 61 Wilberforce Road in March 2014. The premium payable was £10,130 and the case was remitted back to the Willesden County Court to effect the Vesting Order (Claim No 3W103100). This case affected 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 71 years.

Are there common defects that you witness in leases for Hendon properties?

There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Hendon. All leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
  • A duty to insure the building
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

You could encounter 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, Chelsea Building Society, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have express 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 provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Hendon