Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Kensington:

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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Kensington

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Kensington. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you qualify, 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 extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist should be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Kensington.

I today plan to offer on a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just discovered that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Kensington. Conveyancing advisers have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Kensington ?

The majority of houses in Kensington are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Kensington in which case you should be looking for a Kensington conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. 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 requiring the freeholder’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your solicitor will appraise you on the various issues.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in Kensington which have in the region of forty five years unexpired on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Kensington is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. 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 premises 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 Kensington conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending 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 the agreed 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Kensington where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Kensington conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

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.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Kensington with the intention of expediting the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Kensington can be avoided if you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Kensington charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information sought on or before finding a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most frequent reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Kensington.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Kensington leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you dont have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer first.
  • A minority of Kensington leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly 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 lawyers.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is unsettled. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.

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

    Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Kensington conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Kensington flat is 93 Oakwood Court in June 2010. the LVT determined that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £492,083, This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 37.79 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Kensington