Recently asked questions relating to Kensington leasehold conveyancing
I have just appointed agents to market my basement flat in Kensington.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?
The sensible thing to do is clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Kensington. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
In a situation 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. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).
I am employed by a busy estate agent office in Kensington where we have experienced a few flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Kensington conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
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. This means that the proposed purchaser 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 has to be done prior to, 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Kensington conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Kensington conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Kensington conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
All being well we will complete the sale of our £475000 garden flat in Kensington on Monday in a week. The freeholder has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Kensington?
Kensington conveyancing on leasehold apartments more often than not requires the buyer’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They are at liberty charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The administration charge levied by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you if you want to complete the sale of your home.
I am the registered owner of a a ground floor purpose built flat in Kensington. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for the purchase of the freehold?
in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the amount due.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Kensington property 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 number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 37.79 years.