Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Hillingdon:

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Common questions relating to Hillingdon leasehold conveyancing

I am looking at a two flats in Hillingdon both have in the region of 50 years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Hillingdon is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. The majority of buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 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 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 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 Hillingdon conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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 work for a reputable estate agent office in Hillingdon where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Hillingdon conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Hillingdon conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Hillingdon conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Hillingdon conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Hillingdon who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension work?

  • Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Hillingdon with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hillingdon can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers solicitors.
    • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Hillingdon charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack sought as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual reason for frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hillingdon.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Hillingdon leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such changes. Where you fail to have the paperwork to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • Some Hillingdon leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. 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 should make it clear that the buyer is 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 lawyers.
  • If you have had any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to 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 are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unresolved.

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £225000 garden flat in Hillingdon in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Hillingdon?

    Hillingdon conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually requires the buyer’s lawyer sending questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address such questions the majority will be willing to do so. They are entitled invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some situations it exceeds £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the charge is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    Having spent years of negotiations we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Hillingdon. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    if there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Hillingdon premises is 164 Nestles Avenue in October 2013. The tribunal agreed with the proposed price of £20,158 for the freehold and determined that that sum is the amount to be paid into court This case affected 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 69 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hillingdon