Sample questions relating to North London leasehold conveyancing
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to be perfect, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. 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 advisers have are soon to be instructed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in North London are freehold rather than leasehold. In this scenario it’s worth 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 so you should seriously consider shopping around for a North London conveyancing practitioner and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the number of years remaining. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions such as requiring the freeholder’spermission to carry out alterations. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is part of an estate. Your lawyer will advise you fully on all the issues.
I work for a long established estate agent office in North London where we have experienced a few leasehold sales jeopardised due to short leases. I have received contradictory information from local North London conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 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 before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 buyer.
What advice can you give us when it comes to finding a North London conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
When appointing a conveyancer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a North London conveyancing firm) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non North London conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be useful:
- How many lease extensions have they completed in North London in the last year?
Our conveyancer has advised that he intends to complete and exchange simultaneously on the sale of our £175000 maisonette in North London in just under a week. The landlords agents has quoted £312 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and 3 years statements of service charge. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in North London?
North London conveyancing on leasehold flats often involves the buyer’s lawyer submitting enquiries for the landlord to answer. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to these enquiries the majority will be willing to do so. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some cases it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that one has no choice but to pay whatever is requested of you should you wish to sell the property.
I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord to extend my lease without getting anywhere. Can I make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal? Can you recommend a North London conveyancing firm to represent me?
Where there is a absentee landlord or where there is disagreement about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant legislation you can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to judgment on the sum to be paid.
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 affected 1 flat. The the number of years remaining on the existing lease(s) was 73.26 years.
What makes a North London lease problematic?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in North London. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can result in certain sections are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- Repairing obligations 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
You may have a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Yorkshire Building Society, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.