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Questions and Answers: Osterley leasehold conveyancing

I’m about to sell my ground floor apartment in Osterley.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

It best that you discharge 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 until 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Osterley. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?

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. Strange as it may seem, 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).

I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agency in Osterley where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales derailed due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Osterley conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.

Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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 buyer.

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Osterley with the aim of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Osterley can be bypassed where you appoint lawyers as soon as you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers lawyers.
  • Many freeholders or managing agents in Osterley charge for supplying management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most frequent cause of frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Osterley.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Osterley state that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord consenting to such alterations. Should you dont have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without checking with your conveyancer first.
  • If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where a dispute is ongoing. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should ensure that you have the original share document. Organising a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming formality and delays many a Osterley conveyancing deal. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this as soon as possible.

  • Notwithstanding our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in negotiating a lease extension in Osterley. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

    in cases where there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine the price payable.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Osterley residence is Ground Floor Flat 91 Bath Road in May 2009. in a case where the freeholder could not be traced, the Brentford County Court ordered that the Lease be surrendered in return for the grant of a new lease of the Premises at a premium determined by the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The tribunal concluded that the price payable by the Applicant for the new lease of the premises be £15,900 This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 60.45 years.

    In relation to leasehold conveyancing in Osterley what are the most frequent lease defects?

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

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • 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 have difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Barnsley Building Society, and Barclays Direct 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 grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Osterley