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Questions and Answers: Highams Park leasehold conveyancing

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Highams Park ground floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Highams Park conveyancing practice in 2002 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Some leases for properties in Highams Park do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to 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 consent.

I only have Seventy years left on my flat in Highams Park. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. On the whole a specialist would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Highams Park.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my ground floor flat in Highams Park.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £350000 maisonette in Highams Park in nine days. The managing agents has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a leasehold conveyance in Highams Park?

Highams Park conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally involves the purchaser’s lawyer submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries most will be content to assist. They may levy a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is above £800. The management information fee invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

After months of dialogue we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Highams Park. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Highams Park conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Highams Park property is 48 Greenleaf Road in December 2009. the lessees sought to exercise their right to purchase the freehold from the landlord by way of collective enfranchisement in accordance with the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.The landlord could not be found.A vesting order was granted from the Bow County Court on 10 September 2007 (Claim No: 8BO04141). The Tribunal held that the premium to be paid was £3,850 This case affected 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 104 years.

In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Highams Park what are the most common lease problems?

Leasehold conveyancing in Highams Park is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can result in certain provisions are not included. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the building
  • A duty to insure the building
  • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. National Westminster Bank, Bank of Scotland, and Platform Home Loans Ltd all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Highams Park