Experts for Leasehold Conveyancing in Morden

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Morden leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

I only have 68 years unexpired on my flat in Morden. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?

If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the freeholder. For most situations a specialist may be useful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Morden.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Morden. Am I liable to pay 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. 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).

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Morden conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Morden conveyancing practice) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with two or three firms including non Morden 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 useful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • How many lease extensions have they carried out in Morden in the last year?

  • All being well we will complete the disposal of our £125000 apartment in Morden in 5 days. The freeholder has quoted £348 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Morden?

    For the majority of leasehold sales in Morden conveyancing will involve, queries regarding the management of a building inevitably needing to be answered directly by the freeholder or its agent, this includes :

    • Completing pre-exchange questions
    • Where consent is required before sale in Morden
    • Copies of the building insurance and schedule
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your solicitor will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Morden leasehold property is £350. For Morden conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to supply answers.

    Having spent months of correspondence we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Morden. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Morden property is 14 Nutwell Street in January 2014. The premium payable for the acquisition of a new lease of the subject premises was in the sum of £30,523 This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 62.94 years.

    Are there frequently found deficiencies that you witness in leases for Morden properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Morden. Most leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain sections are wrong. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

    A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Nationwide Building Society, Chelsea Building Society, and Bank of Ireland all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Morden