Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Hounslow:

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Frequently asked questions relating to Hounslow leasehold conveyancing

There are only 68 years unexpired on my flat in Hounslow. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

If 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 mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to track down the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Hounslow.

I've found a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are issues purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Hounslow. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Hounslow are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Hounslow in which case you should be shopping around for a Hounslow conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the landlord’spermission to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the property is located on an estate. Your lawyer will advise you fully on all the issues.

I own a leasehold flat in Hounslow. Conveyancing and The Mortgage Works mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1991. The conveyancing practitioner in Hounslow who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that this person is indeed the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Hounslow conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in Hounslow. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 Hounslow from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hounslow can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • The majority landlords or Management Companies in Hounslow charge for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most usual cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hounslow.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Hounslow state that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such changes. If you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • Some Hounslow 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. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the annual 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is less than 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in Hounslow. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the LVT to determine the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Hounslow premises is Ground Floor Flat 91 Bath Road in May 2009. in a case where the freeholder could not be traced, the Brentford County Court ordered that the Lease be surrendered in return for the grant of a new lease of the Premises at a premium determined by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal concluded that the price payable by the Applicant for the new lease of the premises be £15,900 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 60.45 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hounslow