Top Five Questions relating to Woodford leasehold conveyancing
I am on look out for some leasehold conveyancing in Woodford. Before I get started I want to be sure as to the unexpired term of the lease.
Assuming the lease is recorded at the land registry - and almost all are in Woodford - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 68 years unexpired on my lease in Woodford. I need to get lease extension but my freeholder is can not be found. What should I do?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the magistrate. However, you will be required to prove that you have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. On the whole an enquiry agent may be helpful to try and locate and prepare an expert document to be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the application to the County Court overseeing Woodford.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a leasehold house in Woodford. Conveyancing lawyers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Woodford are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Woodford in which case you should be shopping around for a Woodford conveyancing solicitor and be sure that they are used to advising on 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 with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to conduct changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will report to you on the legal implications.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Woodford. Do I have any liability for 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 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. A critical element 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).
I am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Woodford where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Woodford conveyancing solicitors. Please can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can instigate the lease extension process 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 to extend their lease. 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 disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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.
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without getting anywhere. Can a leaseholder make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a Woodford conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?
Absolutely. We are happy to put you in touch with a Woodford conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement matter before the tribunal for a Woodford premises 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 unexpired lease term was 69.26 years.