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Kensal Green leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I am looking at a two flats in Kensal Green which have in the region of forty five years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Kensal Green. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease deteriorate and it becomes more costly to extend the lease. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies may be unwilling to lend money on properties of this type. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Kensal Green. Am I liable to pay 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 am employed by a busy estate agent office in Kensal Green where we see a few flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Kensal Green conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer 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 needs to be completed 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.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Kensal Green conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Kensal Green conveyancing firm) 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 make enquires with two or three firms including non Kensal Green 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 of use:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Completion in due on our sale of a £350000 flat in Kensal Green in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £384 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Kensal Green?

    Kensal Green conveyancing on leasehold flats ordinarily involves fees being raised by freeholders :

    • Answering pre-contract enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in Kensal Green
    • 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 conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Kensal Green leasehold property is £350. For Kensal Green 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.

    My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in Kensal Green. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Kensal Green conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Kensal Green property is 85A Chevening Road in August 2013. the Tribunals conclusions resulted in a payment of a premium for the new lease in the sum of £11,211 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 84.34 years.