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Common questions relating to St Pancras leasehold conveyancing

I have recently realised that I have Seventy years remaining on my flat in St Pancras. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What are my options?

On the basis that you qualify, 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 lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent may be useful to carry out a search and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing St Pancras.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed flat in St Pancras.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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 managing agents 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold flat in St Pancras. Conveyancing and Platform Home Loans Ltd mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. Attached was a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1994. The conveyancing solicitor in St Pancras who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First contact HMLR to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a St Pancras conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

What are your top tips when it comes to finding a St Pancras conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a St Pancras conveyancing firm) it is most important that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you talk with two or three firms including non St Pancras conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How familiar is the firm with lease extension legislation?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in St Pancras who can give a testimonial?

  • I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can a leaseholder apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a St Pancras conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    Where there is a absentee landlord or if there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the sum to be paid.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a St Pancras 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 affected 1 flat. The the unexpired term as at the valuation date was 66.8 years.

    What makes a St Pancras lease problematic?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in St Pancras. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain provisions are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the property
    • 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

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. HSBC Bank, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Clydesdale all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in St Pancras