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Highgate leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

I only have Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Highgate. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What options are available to me?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application 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 Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the landlord. In some cases a specialist would be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Highgate.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Highgate. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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).

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Highgate conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Highgate conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Highgate conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in Highgate who can give a testimonial?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Highgate from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Highgate can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Highgate levy fees for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover 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 Highgate.
  • Some Highgate leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand 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 purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 buyers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should ensure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a replacement share certificate is often a lengthy process and delays many a Highgate conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • If all goes to plan we aim to complete the disposal of our £425000 flat in Highgate in six days. The landlords agents has quoted £408 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Highgate?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in Highgate conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Addressing pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Highgate
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Highgate leasehold property is £350. For Highgate 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 obliged to provide the information.

    I am the registered owner of a ground floor flat in Highgate. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount due for a lease extension?

    Most certainly. We can put you in touch with a Highgate conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Highgate flat is Flat 2A 19 Shepherds Hill in June 2014. The tribunal concluded in accordance with section 48 and schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform,Housing and Urban Development Act (the 1993 Act) that the premium payable in respect of the grant of a new lease for the Flat be £24,303 (twenty four thousand three hundred and three pounds) This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 67.85 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Highgate