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Frequently asked questions relating to Totteridge leasehold conveyancing

I only have Fifty years left on my flat in Totteridge. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, 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 extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the lessor. For most situations a specialist may be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document which can be accepted by the court as proof that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering Totteridge.

Due to exchange soon on a ground floor flat in Totteridge. Conveyancing solicitors assured me that they will have a report out to me next week. What should I be looking out for?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Totteridge should include some of the following:

  • How long the lease is You should be advised as what happens when the lease expires, and aware of the importance of the 80 year mark
  • The physical extent of the demise. This will be the apartment itself but may incorporate a roof space or cellar if applicable.
  • Setting out your legal entitlements in respect of common areas in the block.For instance, does the lease permit a right of way over a path or staircase?
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • Whether the landlord has obligations to ensure rights of quiet enjoyment over your property and do you know what it means in practice?
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Totteridge please ask your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in Totteridge

  • I've recently bought a leasehold property in Totteridge. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element 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 work for a busy estate agency in Totteridge where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local Totteridge conveyancing firms. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

    Provided that 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 buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the sale.

    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 buyer.

    Can you provide any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Totteridge from the perspective of expediting the sale process?

    • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Totteridge can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ solicitors.
    • A minority of Totteridge leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, you should place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference will need to confirm that the buyers are financially capable of paying the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their lawyers.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The purchasers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or settle the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. 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 details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is clearly preferable to reveal the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share document. Arranging a replacement share certificate can be a time consuming process and delays many a Totteridge conveyancing deal. Where a reissued share is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be wise to verify this by asking your conveyancers. A buyer’s conveyancer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is below 75 years. It is therefore essential at an as soon as possible that you identify whether the lease term for your property needs extending. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your property on the market for sale.

  • My wife and I have hit a brick wall in trying to reach an agreement for a lease extension in Totteridge. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?

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

    An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Totteridge property is Flat 2 2 Netherfield Road in April 2010. The Tribunale held that premium payable for a 90 year extension to the existing Lease should be £7,705. This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 76 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Totteridge