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Frequently asked questions relating to Wealdstone leasehold conveyancing

There are only 68 years remaining on my flat in Wealdstone. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

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 lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you have made all reasonable attempts to track down the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent may be useful to try and locate and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Wealdstone.

I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of apartments in Wealdstone which have approximately forty five years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are plenty of short leases in Wealdstone. The lease is a right to use the property for a period of time. As a lease shortens the saleability of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more expensive to extend the lease. For this reason it is advisable to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficulties arise selling premises with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you get professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this area

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Wealdstone. 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 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Wealdstone from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Wealdstone can be avoided where you get in touch lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation needed by the purchasers’ representatives.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s permission? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Wealdstone leases often stipulate that internal structural changes or laying down wooden flooring necessitate a licence from the Landlord approving such works. If you fail to have the approvals to hand you should not contact the landlord without contacting your conveyancer before hand.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are settled prior to the flat being put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be nervous about purchasing a property where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a Wealdstone home move. If a duplicate share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (where applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but you should verify this via your lawyers. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to to exchange contracts if the remaining number of years is under 75 years. In the circumstances it is important 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.

  • I inherited a a ground floor purpose built flat in Wealdstone. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the amount due for a lease extension?

    Most definitely. We can put you in touch with a Wealdstone conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement case for a Wealdstone property is 139/139A Masons Avenue in February 2010. this was a case with an absentee freeholder. As a result the leaseholders applied to Willesden County Court for an order dispensing with the giving of a notice of claim.14th October 2009 District Judge Brar granted a vesting order and the court directed that the matter should be transferred to this tribunal to determine the freehold premium. The tribunal concluded on a figure of £13,000 for the freehold interest This case related to 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 74 years.

    What makes a Wealdstone lease unmortgageable?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Wealdstone is not unique. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • 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

    You will have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Virgin Money, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the buyer to pull out.