Guaranteed fixed fees for Leasehold Conveyancing in Notting Hill

When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Notting Hill, you will need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor with leasehold experience. Whether your lender is to be Clydesdale , Birmingham Midshires or Bradford & Bingley make sure you choose a lawyer on their approved list. Feel free to use our search tool

Notting Hill leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Notting Hill garden flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Notting Hill conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?

The lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; specifically, it will say if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain conditions. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Notting Hill do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

I only have Sixty One years unexpired on my lease in Notting Hill. I now wish to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?

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 an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. For most situations a specialist would be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Notting Hill.

I am employed by a long established estate agency in Notting Hill where we have witnessed a few flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Notting Hill conveyancing firms. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the buyer?

As long as the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to commence the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.

Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Notting Hill from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Notting Hill can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the property would they have required Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Most leases in Notting Hill state that internal structural alterations or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. If you dont have the paperwork in place you should not communicate with the landlord without checking with your solicitor in the first instance.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where a dispute is unresolved. You may have to bite the bullet and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the freehold, you should ensure that you hold the original share document. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a Notting Hill conveyancing transaction. Where a reissued share certificate is required, do contact the company officers 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 it would be wise to verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • I am the leaseholder of a first floor flat in Notting Hill. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium due for the purchase of the freehold?

    Where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement 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 arrive at the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Notting Hill residence is 2 Grove House 95 Addison Road in October 2013. the Tribunal decided that the premium to bepaid for a new lease is £50,050. This case affected 1 flat. The unexpired term was 68.4 years.

    Are there frequently found defects that you come across in leases for Notting Hill properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Notting Hill. All leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • 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.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You could encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Santander, Coventry Building Society, and Britannia all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Notting Hill