West Hampstead leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I am in need of some leasehold conveyancing in West Hampstead. Before diving in I require certainty as to the remaining lease term.
If the lease is registered - and 99.9% are in West Hampstead - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I today plan to offer on a house that seems to meet my requirements, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in West Hampstead. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in West Hampstead ?
Most houses in West Hampstead are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in West Hampstead so you should seriously consider looking for a West Hampstead conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to transacting on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your lawyer should appraise you on the various issues.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in West Hampstead. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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 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 reputable estate agency in West Hampstead where we see a number of leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local West Hampstead conveyancing firms. Please can you shed some light as to whether the owner 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 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 has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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.
We expect to complete the disposal of our £500000 apartment in West Hampstead in seven days. The freeholder has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge such fees for a flat conveyance in West Hampstead?
West Hampstead conveyancing on leasehold flats often requires the buyer’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to answer such questions the majority will be willing to assist. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The administration charge invoiced by the landlord must be accompanied by a summary of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, without which the charge is not strictly payable. In reality you have little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.
I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in West Hampstead. Can this matter be resolved via the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal?
Most certainly. We are happy to put you in touch with a West Hampstead conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a West Hampstead premises is Flat A 372 Cricklewood Lane in January 2013. The Tribunal decided that the premium for the extended lease should be £5,750.00 and that the terms of the new lease should be those set out in annex to the decsion This case related to 1 flat.