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Common questions relating to Islington leasehold conveyancing

I own a leasehold house in Islington. Conveyancing and Clydesdale mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Islington who previously acted has now retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Islington conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Islington. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

In a situation 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. 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).

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

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Islington conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Islington conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Islington from the point of view of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Islington can be avoided where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers conveyancers.
    • The majority freeholders or Management Companies in Islington levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold homes. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Islington.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Islington state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you fail to have the paperwork to hand do not contact the landlord without contacting your lawyer in advance.
  • Some Islington leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any 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 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 Management Company, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Arranging a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a Islington home move. Where a reissued share certificate is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • We expect to complete the sale of our £200000 garden flat in Islington on Friday in a week. The landlords agents has quoted £396 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Islington?

    Islington conveyancing on leasehold apartments ordinarily results in administration charges raised by landlords agents :

    • Answering pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Islington
    • Supplying insurance information
    • 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 Islington leasehold premises is £350. For Islington 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 required to provide answers.

    I have had difficulty in negotiating a lease extension in Islington. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Islington premises is 5C Stoke Newington Road in April 2010. the Tribunal therefore concludes that the premium to be paid for the extended lease is £700.00 This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 80.5 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Islington