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Westminster leasehold conveyancing Example Support Desk Enquiries

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 62 years left on my flat in Westminster. I now want to extend my lease but my freeholder is missing. 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 enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have used your best endeavours to track down the freeholder. On the whole a specialist should be useful to try and locate and to produce an expert document to be accepted by the court as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to devolving into the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Westminster.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Westminster both have in the region of fifty years left on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?

There are plenty of short leases in Westminster. The lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a prescribed time frame. As a lease gets shorter the marketability of the lease reduces and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. This is why it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. More often than not it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders less inclined to grant a loan on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We recommend you seek professional help from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Westminster. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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).

All being well we will complete the disposal of our £400000 maisonette in Westminster in just under a week. The managing agents has quoted £348 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Westminster?

Westminster conveyancing on leasehold apartments normally involves fees being raised by freeholders :

  • Answering pre-exchange enquiries
  • Where consent is required before sale in Westminster
  • Supplying insurance information
  • Deeds of covenant upon sale
  • Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Your conveyancer will have no control over the level of the charges for this information but the average costs for the information for Westminster leasehold property is £350. For Westminster conveyancing transactions it is customary for the seller to pay for these costs. The landlord or their agents are under no legal obligation to answer such questions most will be willing to do so - albeit often at exorbitant prices where the fees bear little relation to the work involved. Unfortunately there is no law that requires fixed charges for administrative tasks. Neither is there any legal time frame by which they are required to supply answers.

I inherited a a ground floor purpose built flat in Westminster. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the amount due for a lease extension?

in cases where there is a missing freeholder or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to make a decision on the sum to be paid.

An example of a Lease Extension case for a Westminster property is Flats 12A & 19, Evelyn Mansions Carlisle Place in June 2009. The Tribunal held that the price to be paid for the new lease of Flat 12A is £168,824, For the other flat the price was set at £169,110 This case affected 2 flats. The remaining number of years on the lease was 56 years.

What are the common defects that you encounter in leases for Westminster properties?

Leasehold conveyancing in Westminster 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
  • Insurance obligations
  • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
  • Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage

A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Yorkshire Building Society, Barnsley Building Society, and TSB all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to provide security, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Westminster