Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Mayfair:

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Top Five Questions relating to Mayfair leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Fifty years remaining on my flat in Mayfair. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application 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 Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the landlord. On the whole a specialist may be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Mayfair.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden apartment in Mayfair.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is discharge 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 management companies 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Mayfair. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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).

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Mayfair where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Mayfair conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

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 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 before, or simultaneously with 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.

I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can a leaseholder apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Mayfair conveyancing firm to assist?

if there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the LVT to calculate the premium.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a Mayfair premises is Flat 1 3 Upper Belgrave Street in December 2010. The Tribunal determined that the price payablefor the Lease extension in respect of the subject premises was £2,202,007 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 21 years.

Are there common defects that you witness in leases for Mayfair properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in Mayfair is not unique. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain sections are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

  • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
  • Insurance obligations
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Barnsley Building Society, and Britannia all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Mayfair