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Common questions relating to St Giles leasehold conveyancing

I only have 62 years left on my lease in St Giles. I am keen to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What are my options?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you have used your best endeavours to locate the freeholder. For most situations a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing St Giles.

I’m about to sell my 2 bed flat in St Giles.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is 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 managing agents 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

I've recently bought a leasehold property in St Giles. Do I have any liability for 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. However, 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 busy estate agency in St Giles where we have experienced a number of flat sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given inconsistent advice from local St Giles conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can instigate 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. 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.

Alternatively, it may be possible 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.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a St Giles conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a St Giles conveyancing practice) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with several firms including non St Giles conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:

  • How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm completed in St Giles in the last 12 months?

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without any joy. Can one make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a St Giles conveyancing firm to assist?

    You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a St Giles conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a St Giles residence is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.8 years.