Top Five Questions relating to North London leasehold conveyancing
I have just started marketing my garden apartment in North London.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – what should I do?
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 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a reasonable figure which is making it more attractive. I have subsequently discovered that it's a leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in North London. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will my lawyers set out the implications of buying a leasehold house in North London ?
The majority of houses in North London are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in North London in which case you should be shopping around for a North London conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a leaseholder you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example requiring the landlord’spermission to conduct alterations. You may also be required to pay a contribution towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your solicitor will advise you fully on all the issues.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in North London. Conveyancing and HSBC Bank mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing solicitor in North London who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. You do not need to incur the fees of a North London conveyancing solicitor to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a two flats in North London both have in the region of 50 years remaining on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in North London is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the value of the property. For most purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with less than eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the property 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 North London conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on our sale of a £175000 maisonette in North London next week. The freeholder has quoted £420 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in North London?
North London conveyancing on leasehold flats usually requires the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They may invoice a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of entitlements and obligations in respect of administration fees, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has little choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to complete the sale of your home.
I have had difficulty in trying to purchase the freehold in North London. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on premiums?
You certainly can. We are happy to put you in touch with a North London conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Freehold Enfranchisement decision for a North London residence is 20 Avonwick Road in July 2013. The Tribunal was dealing with an application under Section 26 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 for a determination of the freehold value of the property. It was concluded that the price to be paid was Fifteen Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy (£15,970) divided as to £8,200 for Flat 20 and £7,770 for Flat 20A This case was in relation to 1 flat. The the unexpired residue of the current lease was 73.26 years.