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Top Five Questions relating to Hillingdon leasehold conveyancing

I would like to let out my leasehold flat in Hillingdon. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

A lease dictates relations between the freeholder and you the flat owner; in particular, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Hillingdon do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. Instead, there is usually a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the sublease.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years left on my flat in Hillingdon. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord 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 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 lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to carry out a search and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Hillingdon.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Hillingdon.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly service charge invoice – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I own a leasehold flat in Hillingdon. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1996. The conveyancing solicitor in Hillingdon who acted for me is not around.What should I do?

The first thing you should do is contact the Land Registry to be sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a Hillingdon conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I am employed by a busy estate agency in Hillingdon where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Hillingdon conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease 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. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, 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.

We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Hillingdon. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

if there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to calculate 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.

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Lease Extensions in Hillingdon