Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in West Heath:

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Common questions relating to West Heath leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 72 years left on my flat in West Heath. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?

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 extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to find the freeholder. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering West Heath.

I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently found out that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I would have thought that there are particular concerns buying a house with a leasehold title in West Heath. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?

The majority of houses in West Heath are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are purchasing in West Heath so you should seriously consider shopping around for a West Heath conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in transacting on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions such as obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer should report to you on the legal implications.

Last month I purchased a leasehold property in West Heath. 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. 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 am employed by a long established estate agency in West Heath where we have experienced a number of leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received inconsistent advice from local West Heath conveyancing firms. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

As long as 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, 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 buyer.

Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £125000 maisonette in West Heath in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £372 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in West Heath?

West Heath conveyancing on leasehold apartments usually involves the buyer’s lawyer submitting questions for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries most will be willing to assist. They may invoice a reasonable charge for responding to questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average fee for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it is in excess of £800. The management information fee required by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration fees, otherwise the invoice is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.

After months of dialogue we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in West Heath. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

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

An example of a Lease Extension decision for a West Heath premises is Various @ Colombus Square in January 2012. the Tribunal calculated the premiums to be paid for new leases for each of the flats in Mariners Walk to be £3822 and the premium to be paid for the new lease of 2 Knights Court to be £4439. This case related to 13 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 76 years.