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Common questions relating to North Harrow leasehold conveyancing

I own a leasehold house in North Harrow. Conveyancing and Yorkshire Building Society mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in North Harrow who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?

The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to instruct a North Harrow conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

I've recently bought a leasehold flat in North Harrow. 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 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 North Harrow conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a North Harrow conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you make enquires with two or three firms including non North Harrow conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be of use:

  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm carried out in North Harrow in the last year?
  • What are the costs for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in North Harrow from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in North Harrow can be reduced where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? North Harrow leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring calls for a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such alterations. If you dont have the approvals to hand you should not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer in the first instance.
  • Some North Harrow leases require Landlord’s consent to the sale and approval of the buyers. If this applies to your lease, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers obtain bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate is often a time consuming formality and delays many a North Harrow conveyancing deal. Where a duplicate share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should double-check via your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is less than 80 years. In the circumstances it is important at an as soon as possible that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • All being well we will complete the sale of our £175000 maisonette in North Harrow on Wednesday in a week. The management company has quoted £324 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and previous years service charge statements. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in North Harrow?

    North Harrow conveyancing on leasehold flats typically involves fees being levied by managing agents :

    • Completing conveyancing due diligence enquiries
    • Where consent is required before sale in North Harrow
    • Supplying insurance information
    • Deeds of covenant upon sale
    • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
    Your lawyer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for North Harrow leasehold property is £350. For North Harrow 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 the information.

    We have reached the end of our tether in seeking a lease extension in North Harrow. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a North Harrow property is flat 93b Welldon Crescent in May 2009. The Tribunals valuation for a 90-year lease extension of this fat was £13,171 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 75.25 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in North Harrow