Fixed-fee leasehold conveyancing in Wimbledon:

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Common questions relating to Wimbledon leasehold conveyancing

There are only 68 years unexpired on my lease in Wimbledon. I now wish to get lease extension but my landlord 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 for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the magistrate. You will be obliged to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the lessor. In some cases a specialist should be helpful to carry out a search and prepare an expert document which can be used as proof that the freeholder is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Wimbledon.

I have just appointed agents to market my garden flat in Wimbledon.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge 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.

Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in Wimbledon. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to 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. It is an essential part 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).

I am employed by a reputable estate agent office in Wimbledon where we see a number of flat sales derailed as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Wimbledon conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can initiate 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 start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer need not have 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 extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord 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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Wimbledon conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?

When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Wimbledon conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Wimbledon conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How familiar is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the charges for lease extension work?

  • I own a two-bedroom flat in Wimbledon. In the absence of agreement between myself and the freeholder, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal make a decision on the sum payable for a lease extension?

    if there is a absentee freeholder or where there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to decide the price payable.

    An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Wimbledon flat is 629 Garratt Lane in September 2014. The consideration payable for the acquisition of the freehold of the subject property was the sum £21,302.74. This represented a valuation of the freehold in the sum of £23,864 from which the sum of £2561.27 has been deducted in respect of certain costs in repairing and insuring the premises This case affected 3 flats. The unexpired lease term was 72.94 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Wimbledon