Common questions relating to West Kensington leasehold conveyancing
I only have 72 years unexpired on my flat in West Kensington. I need to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. What options are available to me?
On the basis that 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 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 have done all that could be expected to locate the lessor. For most situations an enquiry agent would be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer both on devolving into the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court covering West Kensington.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my 2 bed apartment in West Kensington.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just had a yearly service charge invoice – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay the invoice as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer until the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I've found a house that seems to be perfect, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have just been informed that it's a leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a house with a leasehold title in West Kensington. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in West Kensington are freehold and not leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in West Kensington so you should seriously consider looking for a West Kensington conveyancing solicitor and check that they have experience in dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a tenant you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want to the property. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the communal areas where the house is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will appraise you on the various issues.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two apartments in West Kensington both have in the region of 50 years left on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in West Kensington is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the salability of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of premises with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with West Kensington conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I am employed by a long established estate agent office in West Kensington where we see a few leasehold sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have been given contradictory information from local West Kensington conveyancing solicitors. Can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the buyer?
As long as 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. The benefit of this is that the buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done prior to, or at the same time as completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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.
Following years of negotiations we are unable to agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in West Kensington. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
if there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the LVT to arrive at the amount due.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a West Kensington premises is 93 Oakwood Court in June 2010. the LVT determined that the premium to be paid for the new lease was £492,083, This case affected 1 flat. The remaining number of years on the lease was 37.79 years.