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Homerton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Homerton. Before diving in I want to be sure as to the remaining lease term.

If the lease is recorded at the land registry - and most are in Homerton - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

There are only Sixty One years unexpired on my flat in Homerton. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply 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. However, you will be required to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to locate the freeholder. On the whole a specialist should be useful to try and locate and to produce a report to be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering Homerton.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Homerton which have approximately fifty years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Homerton is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more upbeat 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 a residence 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 Homerton 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 They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that any new 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've recently bought a leasehold property in Homerton. 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).

I work for a reputable estate agency in Homerton where we have experienced a few flat sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local Homerton conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as 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. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

An alternative approach is 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 purchaser.

I inherited a two-bedroom flat in Homerton. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for a lease extension?

Most definitely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Homerton conveyancing firm who can help.

An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Homerton residence is 104 Nightingale Road in May 2009. The Tribunal's Decision is that the premium torbe paid for the enfranchisement in this case is £112,174 This case affected 10 flats. The unexpired lease term was 71.25 years.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Homerton