Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in West Hendon:

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Questions and Answers: West Hendon leasehold conveyancing

I would like to rent out my leasehold apartment in West Hendon. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask her. Is permission from the freeholder required?

A small minority of properties in West Hendon do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.

I have recently realised that I have 72 years remaining on my flat in West Hendon. I now want to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What should I do?

If you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be lengthened by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to track down the lessor. In some cases a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing West Hendon.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in West Hendon. 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 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 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).

Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a West Hendon conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a West Hendon conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with two or three firms including non West Hendon conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • What volume of lease extensions has the firm carried out in West Hendon in the last 12 months?
  • Can they put you in touch with client in West Hendon who can give a testimonial?

  • After months of correspondence we cannot agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in West Hendon. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?

    You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a West Hendon conveyancing firm who can help.

    An example of a Lease Extension case for a West Hendon premises is First Floor Flat 61 Wilberforce Road in March 2014. The premium payable was £10,130 and the case was remitted back to the Willesden County Court to effect the Vesting Order (Claim No 3W103100). This case related to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 71 years.

    Are there common problems that you encounter in leases for West Hendon properties?

    Leasehold conveyancing in West Hendon is not unique. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
    • A duty to insure the building
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Birmingham Midshires, Skipton Building Society, and Bank of Ireland 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in West Hendon