Highgate leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
There are only 62 years remaining on my flat in Highgate. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?
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 lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. For most situations a specialist would be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Highgate.
I own a leasehold house in Highgate. Conveyancing and Virgin Money mortgage organised. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing solicitor in Highgate who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First contact HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Highgate conveyancing solicitor to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Highgate which have about fifty years left on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Highgate is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and lenders, leases with less than 75 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 premises 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 property 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 Highgate 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Highgate. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
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).
Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Highgate with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?
- A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Highgate can be avoided if you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and request that they start to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
- If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Highgate leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such changes. If you dont have the consents to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your solicitor in the first instance.
I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in Highgate. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Highgate conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Highgate residence 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 67.85 years.