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Questions and Answers: Barnstaple leasehold conveyancing

My partner and I may need to let out our Barnstaple garden flat temporarily due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a Barnstaple conveyancing practice in 2001 but they have closed and we did not think at the time get any advice as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?

Your lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The rule is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. Most leases in Barnstaple do not prevent subletting altogether – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the flat. In most cases there is simply a requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my garden flat in Barnstaple.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge invoice – Do I pay up?

It best that you 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 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

Back In 2008, I bought a leasehold flat in Barnstaple. Conveyancing and Virgin Money mortgage went though with no issue. I have received a letter from someone claiming to own the reversionary interest in the property. It included a demand for arrears of ground rent dating back to 1995. The conveyancing practitioner in Barnstaple who acted for me is not around.Do I pay?

First contact the Land Registry to be sure that this person is in fact the new freeholder. You do not need to incur the fees of a Barnstaple conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for a few pound. Rest assured that in any event, even if this is the legitimate freeholder, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

I am looking at a couple of flats in Barnstaple which have in the region of forty five years left on the lease term. should I be concerned?

There are no two ways about it. A leasehold flat in Barnstaple is a wasting asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the marketability of the property. For most buyers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. 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 property 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 Barnstaple 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 They may agree to a smaller lump sum and an increase in the ground rent, but to shorter extension terms in return. You need to ensure that the agreed 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.

If all goes to plan we aim to complete the sale of our £200000 garden flat in Barnstaple in just under a week. The management company has quoted £300 for Landlord’s certificate, insurance certificate and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge an administration fee for a flat conveyance in Barnstaple?

Barnstaple conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes usually requires the purchaser’s solicitor submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is not legally bound to address such questions most will be willing to assist. They are at liberty charge a reasonable charge for responding to enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is over three hundred pounds, in some transactions it is in excess of £800. The management information fee demanded by the landlord must be accompanied by a synopsis of rights and obligations in relation to administration charges, otherwise the invoice is technically not due. Reality however dictates that you have little option but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to sell the property.

Leasehold Conveyancing in Barnstaple - A selection of Questions you should ask before buying

    Are any of leasehold owners in dispute over their service charge liability? Is there a share of the freehold? What is the maintenance charge and ground rent on the property?

Other Topics

Lease Extensions in Barnstaple