Kensington leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I have recently realised that I have Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Kensington. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?
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 enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. In some cases a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Kensington.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in Kensington. Conveyancing advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in Kensington ?
Most houses in Kensington are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor 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 practitioner and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer will advise you fully on all the issues.
I am looking at a couple of apartments in Kensington both have about fifty years remaining 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 its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most purchasers and lenders, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more positive 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 You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. 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've recently bought a leasehold property in Kensington. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. It is an essential part 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).
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the disposal of our £225000 flat in Kensington in 8 days. The management company has quoted £384 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in Kensington?
Kensington conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually requires the purchaser’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to such questions the majority will be willing to do so. They are entitled charge a reasonable administration fee for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average fee for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to complete the sale of your home.
I have given up trying to purchase the freehold in Kensington. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
Where there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the LVT to determine the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Kensington premises 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 37.79 years.