Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Highgate

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

Sample questions relating to Highgate leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Highgate. Conveyancing and Aldermore mortgage organised. I have received a letter 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.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Highgate conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for a few pound. You should note 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 work for a reputable estate agency in Highgate where we see a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Highgate conveyancing firms. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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 buyer.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Highgate with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Highgate can be bypassed where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example installed wooden flooring? Highgate leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such alterations. Where you dont have the paperwork to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • Some Highgate leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are 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 buyers or their lawyers.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a flat where a dispute is unresolved. You may need to swallow your pride and pay 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 purchasers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check by asking your solicitors. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to where the lease term is under 80 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £325000 apartment in Highgate in just under a week. The freeholder has quoted £336 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Highgate?

    Highgate conveyancing on leasehold apartments often requires the buyer’s conveyancer sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to such questions the majority will be willing to do so. They may invoice a reasonable charge for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it exceeds £800. The administration charge required by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.

    I have attempted and failed to negotiate 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 Highgate conveyancing firm to assist?

    Absolutely. 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 property 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 remaining number of years on the lease was 67.85 years.

    What makes a Highgate lease unmortgageable?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Highgate. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording 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 elements of the premises
    • A duty to insure the building
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Barclays , Barnsley Building Society, and Britannia 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 is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Highgate