Recently asked questions relating to North West London leasehold conveyancing
My fiance and I may need to let out our North West London garden flat temporarily due to a new job. We used a North West London conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any guidance as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in North West London do contain a provision to say that subletting is only permitted with prior consent from the landlord. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting permission.
I have recently realised that I have 62 years remaining on my lease in North West London. I now wish to get lease extension 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 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 extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to track down the landlord. For most situations an enquiry agent would be helpful to carry out a search and prepare a report to be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a property lawyer in relation to investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing North West London.
I’m about to sell my 2 bed apartment in North West London.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should discharge the service charge 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in North West London. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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 North West London where we see a few flat sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local North West London conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the vendor of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?
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. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. 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.
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.
I invested in buying a 1st floor flat in North West London, conveyancing was carried out 2012. How much will my lease extension cost? Corresponding properties in North West London with over 90 years remaining are worth £244,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 invoiced annually. The lease runs out on 21st October 2081
With just 61 years left to run we estimate the premium for your lease extension to be between £20,900 and £24,200 as well as costs.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more detailed investigations. Do not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other issues that need to be taken into account and you obviously want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Please do not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first getting professional advice.