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Alsager leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s

My husband and I may need to rent out our Alsager 1st floor flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Alsager conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Notwithstanding that your last Alsager conveyancing lawyer is no longer available you can check your lease to check if it allows you to sublet the premises. The rule is that if the deeds are silent, subletting is allowed. Quite often there is a prerequisite that you need to obtain permission via your landlord or other appropriate person in advance of subletting. The net result is that you cannot sublet without first obtaining consent. Such consent is not allowed to be unreasonably turned down. If your lease prohibits you from letting out the property you will need to ask your landlord for their consent.

I have just appointed agents to market my 2 bed apartment in Alsager.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?

The sensible thing to do is pay 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Back In 2007, I bought a leasehold flat in Alsager. Conveyancing and Chelsea Building Society mortgage organised. 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 1994. The conveyancing practitioner in Alsager who acted for me is not around.Any advice?

First make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that the individual claiming to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Alsager conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for £3. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.

Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Alsager. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before my ownership?

In a situation 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. It is an essential part 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).

Do you have any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Alsager from the perspective of speeding up the sale process?

  • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Alsager can be avoided if you instruct lawyers the minute your agents start advertising the property and request that they start to put together the leasehold documentation needed by the buyers conveyancers.
  • If you have carried out any alterations to the premises would they have required Landlord’s consent? In particular have you installed wooden flooring? Alsager leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or laying down wooden flooring require a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. If you dont have the paperwork in place do not communicate with the landlord without contacting your lawyer in the first instance.
  • A minority of Alsager leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice 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 actual amount of the service charge so that they can pass this information on to the purchasers or their solicitors.
  • If there is a history of any disputes with your freeholder or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved prior to the flat being put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a property where there is an ongoing dispute. You will have to accept that you will have to pay 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 prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as historic rather than ongoing.
  • If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share certificate. Arranging a duplicate share certificate is often a lengthy formality and delays many a Alsager home move. If a duplicate share certificate is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if relevant) for this at the earliest opportunity.

  • Leasehold Conveyancing in Alsager - A selection of Queries Prior to Purchasing

      What prohibitions are contained in the Alsager Lease? Where a Alsager lease has less than 80 years it will have adverse implications on the value of the property. It is worth checking with your bank that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. A short lease means that you will probably require a lease extension sooner rather than later and you need to have some idea of how much this will be. Remember, in most cases you would be be obliged to have owned the residence for a couple of years in order to be legally able to exercise a lease extension. Generally speaking the cost for major works are not built into the maintenance charges, albeit that some managing agents in Alsager require tenants to pay into a sinking fund and this is used to offset against larger repairs or maintenance.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Alsager