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Recently asked questions relating to Hoxton leasehold conveyancing

There are only Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Hoxton. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder 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 an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. In some cases an enquiry agent should be useful to try and locate and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Hoxton.

I work for a long established estate agent office in Hoxton where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Hoxton conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is 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 needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is 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.

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

When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Hoxton conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non Hoxton 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 useful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What volume of lease extensions have they completed in Hoxton in the last year?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Hoxton from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

    • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hoxton can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers representatives.
    • Many landlords or managing agents in Hoxton charge for providing management packs for a leasehold premises. You or your lawyers should enquire as to the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The average time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Hoxton.
  • A minority of Hoxton leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are able to meet 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 service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Obtaining a new share certificate can be a lengthy process and slows down many a Hoxton home move. If a reissued share certificate is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where applicable) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’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. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the disposal of our £325000 garden flat in Hoxton in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £384 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Hoxton?

    Hoxton conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes typically involves administration charges invoiced by freeholders :

    • Completing pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Hoxton
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Hoxton leasehold property is £350. For Hoxton conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are obliged to supply the information.

    Having spent years of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Hoxton. Does the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal have jurisdiction to calculate the appropriate figures?

    in cases where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Hoxton flat is 137 & 139 Haberdasher Street in December 2013. The Tribunal determines in accordance with section 48 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease for each Property should be £12,350.00. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 72.39 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Hoxton