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Questions and Answers: Locksbottom leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years left on my flat in Locksbottom. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the landlord. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be used as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Locksbottom.

I have just started marketing my 2 bed flat in Locksbottom.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?

It best that you 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 own a leasehold flat in Locksbottom. Conveyancing and HSBC Bank mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Locksbottom who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a Locksbottom conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the rightful freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a Locksbottom conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Locksbottom conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non Locksbottom conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm carried out in Locksbottom in the last year?

  • After years of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Locksbottom. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    in cases where there is a missing freeholder or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Locksbottom flat is 1 Southlands Court Southlands Road in September 2013. The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal determined that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 was £30,541 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 50.57 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Locksbottom what are the most frequent lease defects?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Locksbottom is not unique. All leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the property
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    You could have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Yorkshire Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.