Top Five Questions relating to Woodford leasehold conveyancing
There are only 62 years unexpired on my flat in Woodford. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is can not be found. What options are available to me?
If 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 enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. You will be obliged to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent would be useful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer both on proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Woodford.
Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement flat in Woodford.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?
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 management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless 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 recently bought a leasehold property in Woodford. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?
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).
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a Woodford conveyancing practice to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Woodford conveyancing firm) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We recommend that you talk with several firms including non Woodford conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then so much the better. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- Can they put you in touch with client in Woodford who can give a testimonial?
I have tried to negotiate informally with with my landlord for a lease extension without success. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Woodford conveyancing firm to represent me?
You certainly can. We can put you in touch with a Woodford conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a Woodford flat is 201 & 201a St. Barnabas Road in October 2013. The Tribunal decided that the price to be paid by the Applicants for the freehold interest is £20,071. This case was in relation to 2 flats. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 69.26 years.
What makes a Woodford lease defective?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Woodford. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the property
- A duty to insure the building
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- 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. Santander, Bank of Scotland, and Barclays Direct all have very detailed requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.