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Top Five Questions relating to Temple leasehold conveyancing

I only have 68 years unexpired on my lease in Temple. I now want to get lease extension but my freeholder is absent. What options are available to me?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent should be helpful to carry out a search and to produce a report which can be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer in relation to investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Temple.

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Temple.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?

It best that you 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Temple. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Temple where we have witnessed a few flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Temple conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that 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 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.

An alternative approach is 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.

What advice can you give us when it comes to choosing a Temple conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

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

  • How many lease extensions have they carried out in Temple in the last 12 months?
  • What are the charges for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Notwithstanding our best endeavours, we have been unsuccessful in negotiating a lease extension in Temple. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Temple 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 was in relation to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 66.8 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Temple