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Top Five Questions relating to Acocks Green leasehold conveyancing

Looking forward to sign contracts shortly on a ground floor flat in Acocks Green. Conveyancing lawyers inform me that they are sending me a report tomorrow. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

The report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in Acocks Green should include some of the following:

  • Details of the parties to the lease, for example these could be the leaseholder (you), head lessor, freeholder
  • Defining your legal entitlements in respect of the communal areas in the building.By way of example, does the lease grant a right of way over a path or hallways?
  • Whether the lease restricts you from renting out the flat, or having a home office for business
  • An explanation as to the provision in the lease to pay service charges - with regard to both the building, and the more general rights a leaseholder has
  • Whether your lease has a provision for a sinking fund?
  • You should have a good understanding of the insurance provisions
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For details of the information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in Acocks Green please enquire of your solicitor in ahead of your conveyancing in Acocks Green

  • I've recently bought a leasehold house in Acocks Green. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure 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 work for a busy estate agent office in Acocks Green where we have experienced a few flat sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Acocks Green conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the seller of a flat can initiate 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. This means that the buyer need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with 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.

    Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Acocks Green with the intention of speeding up the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Acocks Green can be bypassed if you appoint lawyers the minute your agents start marketing the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information which will be required by the buyers solicitors.
    • If you have carried out any alterations to the residence would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Most leases in Acocks Green state that internal structural changes or installing wooden flooring calls for a licence from the Landlord acquiescing to such alterations. Where you fail to have the paperwork to hand you should not contact the landlord without checking with your lawyer before hand.
  • Some Acocks Green leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this is the case, it would be prudent to notify your estate agents to make sure that the purchasers obtain financial (bank) and professional references. Any bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is financially capable of paying the yearly service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be warry about purchasing a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal particulars of the dispute to the buyers, but it is better to present the dispute as over as opposed to unsettled.
  • If you are supposed to have a share in the Management Company, you should ensure that you are holding the original share certificate. Arranging a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and delays many a Acocks Green home move. Where a reissued share certificate is needed, do contact the company director and secretary or managing agents (where relevant) for this sooner rather than later.

  • Are there frequently found deficiencies that you come across in leases for Acocks Green properties?

    There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Acocks Green. All leases is drafted differently and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
    • 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 will encounter 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, Virgin Money, and Barclays Direct all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to withdraw.

    I invested in buying a 2 bed flat in Acocks Green, conveyancing having been completed 2002. Can you work out an approximate cost of a lease extension? Equivalent flats in Acocks Green with a long lease are worth £227,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 invoiced annually. The lease ceases on 21st October 2088

    With 67 years left to run the likely cost is going to range between £15,200 and £17,600 plus plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of comprehensive investigations. Do not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional concerns that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward based on this information without first getting professional advice.

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    Lease Extensions in Acocks Green