Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in St Giles:

While any conveyancing solicitor can theoretically handle your leasehold conveyancing in St Giles, your mortgage provider may unwilling to work with them if the firm are not on their list of approved solicitors for conveyancing

Recently asked questions relating to St Giles leasehold conveyancing

Back In 2003, I bought a leasehold house in St Giles. Conveyancing and HSBC Bank mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing practitioner in St Giles who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First contact HMLR to be sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to instruct a St Giles conveyancing practitioner to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am attracted to a couple of flats in St Giles which have about 50 years unexpired on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There are plenty of short leases in St Giles. The lease is a right to use the premises for a period of time. As the lease shortens the saleability of the lease decreases and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage lenders may be unwilling to lend money on such properties. Lease enfranchisement can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in St Giles. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee 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 be sure 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 work for a long established estate agency in St Giles where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local St Giles conveyancing firms. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?

As long as the seller has been the owner 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. 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 needs to be completed before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.

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 purchaser.

Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in St Giles from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in St Giles can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to collate the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
  • Many landlords or Management Companies in St Giles levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should find out the fee that they propose to charge. The management pack can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in St Giles.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. 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 details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than unsettled.
  • If you hold a share in a the Management Company, you should make sure that you hold the original share certificate. Arranging a re-issued share certificate can be a lengthy process and frustrates many a St Giles home move. Where a new share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) 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 via your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is under 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to purchase the freehold in St Giles. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

    in cases where there is a missing landlord or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to assess the amount due.

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a St Giles flat 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 affected 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.8 years.