Sellers Leasehold Information Form (SLIF)

The leasehold information form (TA7) is one of the standard Law Society protocol forms used in transactions where the property is leasehold. It is completed by the seller in addition to the Property Information Form and asks a serious of questions specific to leasehold properties. As with the Property Information Form, many of the questions are self explanatory however we will go through each question here and explain various points as necessary.

It is worth bearing in mind that a seller will often not have some of the information or documents referred to and that the buyer's solicitor will raise (usually via the seller's solicitor) a set of enquiries with the landlord that will encompass many of the points covered by the Leasehold Information Form.

1 The Property

1.1 Here you need to indicate whether the property is a house or a flat and additionally, whether it is shared ownership. Note that this can apply to either a house or a flat and means that you own a share of the lease and pay rent on the remainder which will be owned by a housing association or registered social landlord. If you are not sure whether the property is shared ownership or not then don't worry as this will soon become apparent to your solicitor from the title deeds.

1.2 This refers to the ground rent which is payable in respect of most leases.

2 Relevant Documents

You should check through your papers and send any of the documents requested in this section that you have. If you are not sure whether a document you have is one of the ones requested then send it anyway and let your conveyancer decide. If there are documents that you don't have you shouldn't concern yourself with obtaining copies at this stage as your conveyancer should request them from the landlord as part of his standard “Enquiries of the Landlord” submitted on behalf of the buyer. The exception to this would be the membership/share certificate. This applies where you are a shareholder in or a member of a management company that is responsible for managing the block (arranging maintenance and repairs, collecting service charges etc). If you are a member/shareholder then the management company will not usually have a copy certificate and you will need to produce it. If you no longer have it or have never had it, tell your conveyancer who will need to ascertain from the management company what steps you must take to obtain a certificate.

3 Management of the Building

3.1 A managing agent is a professional employed to deal with the day to day running of the block/estate of which the property forms part. The agent will not be a party to the lease but rather, will be employed by whoever is responsible under the lease for managing the building (arranging insurance, carrying out repairs and maintenance etc). If you pay your service charges to someone other than the landlord or management company then this is probably a managing agent.

3.2 Sometimes the tenants of a block of flats will get together and form a company to collect service charges and manage the block. This can be done under Right to Manage legislation if the landlord is failing in its duties or the freeholder might create such a company after constructing the block and selling the flats so that it does not carry the responsibility. As this will be a limited company it will be registered with Companies House qand may be struck of if it fails. If a company you are involved in has been struck off in this way you will probably know about it.

3.3 See 3.1.

4 Contact Details

Your conveyancer will need to contact the landlord (and/or the managing agent should there be one) therefore you will need to enter some details here. You should get them from correspondence received from the landlord/managing agent such as rent or service charge demands. You should also have been given the details by your conveyancer when you purchased the property (though these may have changed since). If you only have the managing agent's details then this will be fine as they will be able to give your conveyancer the landlord's details. Occasionally it will be the case that you do not have any details because the landlord is no longer active in respect of the property, for example this happens often with leasehold houses or maisonettes. If this is the case you should make it clear when returning the form, perhaps by adding a covering letter. If you jointly own the freehold with others in your own names (rather than in the name of a management company) you should enter yours and the other owner(s) details in the landlord section. You may need to use a separate sheet of paper.

5 Maintenance and Service Charges

5.1 The lease will say who is officially responsible for arranging insurance but you should say here what actually happens in practice. It is usual in blocks of flats, particularly where there are 3 or more flats, for the landlord to be responsible. For houses it will generally by the tenant and for maisonettes it varies.

5.2 If you do not know the answer immediately then you can simply answer “not known”. There is no real need for you to make any enquiries as your conveyancer will do so anyway on behalf of the buyer's conveyancer. You should however disclose any information you do have.

5.3 See 5.2.

5.4 If you pay a regular service charge, rather than carrying out works on an ad hoc basis, then you should answer yes. Otherwise the answer is no and as the question says you should skip to section 6.

5.5 Where a landlord plans to carry out major works to a building, such as major repairs or redecoration, he must serve a “Section 20” notice on the tenants giving details of the works required and likely costs. If you have received such a notice you must disclose it here and include a copy. If you have not received a Section 20 notice but you are aware that major works may be necessary, for example you know that part of the building is damaged, you should also disclose it here and include as much details as you have.

5.6 This is quite a wide question. It is really asking whether there have been problems caused by insufficient funds being demanded, or perhaps demands not being issued or properly collected or excessive demands being made.

5.7 Sometimes a tenant will challenge the services charges either because the amounts demanded or too high, the demand is not properly explained or a particular head of expenditure appears unnecessary. If you have made a challenge you should give as much detail as possible. Say whether the challenge was successful or not and include any relevant documentation.

5.8 This is self-explanatory.

5.9 You should give details of any arrears here and explain how much is owed, why it has not been paid, whether you intend to pay and if so when and what the arrears relate to.

6 Notices

6.1 When a landlord wants to sell the freehold the law requires him to serve notice on the tenants who then have the option of purchasing the freehold if they wish. If you have received a notice answer yes and include a copy of it.

6.2 This is a wide question. You should include anything you think may be relevant and supply a copy of the notice itself.

7 Consents

Occasionally a lease will be varied, for example to extend the term or to change the extent of the land which is included. As to consents, you or a previous tenant may have asked for consent to carry out alterations to flat for example, for which the consent of the landlord will usually be required. If you have only received verbal consent you should speak to your conveyancer to discuss whether you should try to get this in writing to pass on the buyer.

8 Complaints

8.1 This is fairly self-explanatory. You should include details of any complaint, even if you considered it unjustified and/or it has now been resolved. Typically this will be in respect of things like noise, the keeping of pets or littering, but it could be about anything.

8.2 Again, details of any complaints, including any now resolved, should be given here.

9 Alterations

9.1 This question is about the property itself rather than any other flat in the block.

9.2 If there have been alterations then detail what was done and include any planning consents, building regulations approvals and guarantees.

9.3 Under most leases the consent of the landlord is required for any alterations. If you have the consent you should include it. If you know that it was granted but don't have a copy then contact the landlord to ask for duplicate. If it was not sought in the first place speak to your conveyancer before approaching the landlord.

10 Enfranchisement

10.1 This is self explanatory

10.2 When applying to acquire the freehold or have the lease extended there is a formal process to be followed and the notice referred to here should be in a form prescribed by statute. A mere enquiry does not qualify as formal notice though if you have made enquiries you should disclose this, perhaps on a separate sheet.

10.3 Even if you have not been directly involved in an enfranchisement application the tenants who are should have served notice on you.

10.4 This is self explanatory