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Questions and Answers: Paddington leasehold conveyancing

I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in Paddington. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the number of years remaining on the lease.

Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Paddington - then the leasehold title will always include the short particulars of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Seventy years left on my lease in Paddington. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is absent. What are my options?

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 mean that your lease can be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. On the whole a specialist would be helpful to conduct investigations and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Paddington.

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Paddington.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Paddington conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Paddington conveyancing firm) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you make enquires with two or three firms including non Paddington conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Paddington who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • We expect to complete the sale of our £200000 flat in Paddington next Friday . The management company has quoted £324 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Paddington?

    Paddington conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes more often than not involves the purchaser’s solicitor submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions the majority will be content to do so. They are entitled invoice a reasonable administration fee 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 is above £800. The management information fee levied by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality one has no option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to exchange contracts with the buyer.

    I am the registered owner of a two-bedroom flat in Paddington. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?

    Where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute 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 arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Paddington flat is Flats 37 & 39 88/90 Portland Place in December 2010. The Tribunal determined that the premium payable for the lease extensions in respect of these two flats is as follows:- For Flat 37, the sum of £385,230.00 For Flat 39, the sum of £436,780.00 This case affected 2 flats. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 24.02 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Paddington