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Questions and Answers: Arlesey leasehold conveyancing

Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Arlesey. I now want to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?

On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for for permission to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will mean that your lease can be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. On the whole a specialist may be useful to conduct investigations and to produce a report which can be used as proof that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Arlesey.

I have just started marketing my ground floor apartment in Arlesey.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should pay the invoice 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 management companies 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.

I am attracted to a two maisonettes in Arlesey which have about fifty years unexpired on the leases. Will this present a problem?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Arlesey is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it adversely affects the value of the premises. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with under eighty years become less and less marketable. On a more upbeat note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of property with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Arlesey conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.

I've recently bought a leasehold house in Arlesey. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?

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. 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 top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Arlesey with the purpose of speeding up the sale process?

  • Much of the delay in leasehold conveyancing in Arlesey can be bypassed if you get in touch lawyers as soon as your agents start marketing the property and ask them to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the purchasers’ solicitors.
  • In the event that you altered the property did you need the Landlord’s approval? Have you, for example laid down wooden flooring? Arlesey leases often stipulate that internal structural alterations or addition of wooden flooring necessitate a licence issued by the Landlord approving such works. Should you fail to have the paperwork in place do not communicate with the landlord without checking with your conveyancer before hand.
  • If you have had conflict with your freeholder or managing agents it is very important that these are resolved before the property is put on the market. The purchasers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where there is an ongoing dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or settle 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 will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the buyers, but it is clearly preferable to present the dispute as historic as opposed to unresolved.
  • If you have the benefit of shareholding in the Management Company, you should make sure that you are holding the original share certificate. Obtaining a duplicate share certificate is often a time consuming process and frustrates many a Arlesey home move. If a new share is needed, do contact the company officers or managing agents (if relevant) for this as soon as possible.
  • You may think that you are aware of the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will not be happy to advise their client to where the remaining number of years is below 80 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you consider whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale.

  • I inherited a 1 bedroom flat in Arlesey, conveyancing having been completed 10 years ago. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Corresponding properties in Arlesey with a long lease are worth £252,000. The ground rent is £50 charged once a year. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2082

    With 61 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to be between £19,000 and £22,000 as well as costs.

    The figure above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to supply the actual costs without more comprehensive due diligence. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other issues that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Arlesey