Questions and Answers: Aston leasehold conveyancing
There are only Fifty years unexpired on my flat in Aston. I am keen to extend my lease but my landlord is missing. What options are available to me?
If 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 enable the lease to be granted an extra 90 years by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to find the lessor. In some cases a specialist may be useful 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 solicitor in relation to proving the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Aston.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that seems to be perfect, at a reasonable price which is making it all the more appealing. I have just discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are issues purchasing a leasehold house in Aston. Conveyancing solicitors have are about to be appointed. Will they explain the issues?
The majority of houses in Aston are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are buying in Aston in which case you should be shopping around for a Aston conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they are used to dealing with leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the number of years remaining. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want to the property. The lease comes with conditions for example obtaining the freeholder’spermission to carry out changes to the property. You may also be required to pay a service charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the house is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should appraise you on the various issues.
I own a leasehold flat in Aston. Conveyancing and Barnsley Building Society mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1993. The conveyancing practitioner in Aston who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First contact the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is indeed the new freeholder. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Aston conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that regardless, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Aston. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before completion of my purchase?
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).
I work for a busy estate agent office in Aston where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk as a result of short leases. I have been given inconsistent advice from local Aston conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the vendor of a flat can instigate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
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 can avoid having 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 sale.
An alternative approach is 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 buyer.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Aston - A selection of Questions you should ask before buying
It is important to be aware whether a new roof is being put on or some other major work is anticipated to be shared between the leaseholders and will materially impact the level of the maintenance charges or result in a one time invoice.
Who are the managing agents?
On the whole the cost for major works tend not to be built into the service charges, although there some managing agents in Aston ask leasehold owners to contribute towards a sinking fund and this is used to offset against larger works.