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Leyton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I own a leasehold house in Leyton. Conveyancing and Coventry Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in Leyton who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to instruct a Leyton conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am attracted to a couple of maisonettes in Leyton which have approximately 50 years unexpired on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Leyton is a deteriorating asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it adversely affects the marketability of the premises. For most buyers and mortgage companies, leases with under 75 years become less and less attractive. 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 premises 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 Leyton conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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've recently bought a leasehold property in Leyton. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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 long established estate agency in Leyton where we see a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received inconsistent advice from local Leyton conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence 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 needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Leyton from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Leyton can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or managing agents in Leyton charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the actual amount of the charges. The management information 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 usual reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Leyton.
  • If you have had any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over rather than unresolved.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Organising a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and slows down many a Leyton home move. Where a new share certificate is necessary, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable double-check via your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I inherited a garden flat in Leyton. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount due for the purchase of the freehold?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the LVT to assess the price payable.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Leyton residence is 12 Nutfield Road in July 2014. the Tribunal judged that the price to be paid by the applicants for the freehold interest should be £19,572 This case was in relation to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 72.02 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Leyton