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Frequently asked questions relating to Muswell Hill leasehold conveyancing

I want to rent out my leasehold flat in Muswell Hill. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Do I need to ask my freeholder for their consent?

A lease governs relations between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will say if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in Muswell Hill do not contain an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a copy of the sublease.

There are only Sixty One years unexpired on my lease in Muswell Hill. I now want to get lease extension 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 submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to locate the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent should be useful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document to be used as proof that the landlord can not be located. 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 overseeing Muswell Hill.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Muswell Hill. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation 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 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 advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Muswell Hill conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Muswell Hill conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Muswell Hill conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be useful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the costs for lease extension conveyancing?

  • We expect to complete our sale of a £200000 flat in Muswell Hill on Thursday in a week. The managing agents has quoted £396 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Muswell Hill?

    Muswell Hill conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually requires the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration charges, otherwise the charge is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.

    We have reached the end of our tether in trying to purchase the freehold in Muswell Hill. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    Where there is a missing landlord or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 it is possible to make an application to the LVT to determine the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Muswell Hill premises is Flat B 10 Grove Avenue in October 2013. Following a vesting order Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court 3rd July 2013 The tribunal determines that the premium payable for the lease extension was £36,215.00 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 65.21 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Muswell Hill