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Questions and Answers: Oakleigh Park leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have 68 years left on my lease in Oakleigh Park. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is absent. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to find the lessor. On the whole an enquiry agent may be useful to try and locate and prepare a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Oakleigh Park.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Oakleigh Park.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

The sensible thing to do is clear the invoice 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Oakleigh Park which have approximately 50 years remaining on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There is no doubt about it. A leasehold apartment in Oakleigh Park is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Oakleigh Park conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Oakleigh Park conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Oakleigh Park conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Oakleigh Park 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:

  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm completed in Oakleigh Park in the last twenty four months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • Completion in due on our sale of a £250000 maisonette in Oakleigh Park next week. The freeholder has quoted £348 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Oakleigh Park?

    Oakleigh Park conveyancing on leasehold flats normally requires the buyer’s solicitor sending enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is not legally bound to respond to such questions the majority will be content to assist. They may charge a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it exceeds £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

    I have had difficulty in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Oakleigh Park. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    in cases where there is a missing freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes it is possible to make an application to the LVT to judgment on the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a Oakleigh Park property is Flat 2 2 Netherfield Road in April 2010. The Tribunale held that premium payable for a 90 year extension to the existing Lease should be £7,705. This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 76 years.