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Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Shoreditch

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years unexpired on my flat in Shoreditch. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent should be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Shoreditch.

I've found a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have just found out that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Shoreditch. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

Most houses in Shoreditch are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. We note that you are buying in Shoreditch in which case you should be looking for a Shoreditch conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the landlord’sconsent to conduct alterations. It may be necessary to pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

I am employed by a long established estate agent office in Shoreditch where we see a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Shoreditch conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have 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 before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

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 offer any advice when it comes to finding a Shoreditch conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

If you are instructing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Shoreditch conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with two or three firms including non Shoreditch conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • If they are not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?

  • Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Shoreditch from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Shoreditch can be reduced where you appoint lawyers the minute you market your property and ask them to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s approval? In particular have you laid down wooden flooring? Shoreditch leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord consenting to such works. Where you fail to have the paperwork in place do not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Obtaining a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming formality and frustrates many a Shoreditch conveyancing transaction. If a duplicate share is necessary, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is less than 75 years. In the circumstances it is essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • I am the proprietor of a second floor flat in Shoreditch. Given that I can not reach agreement with the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the premium payable for a lease extension?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to judgment on the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a Shoreditch premises is 137 & 139 Haberdasher Street in December 2013. The Tribunal determines in accordance with section 48 and Schedule 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 that the premium for the extended lease for each Property should be £12,350.00. This case related to 2 flats. The unexpired lease term was 72.39 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Shoreditch