Frequently asked questions relating to Barrow In Furness leasehold conveyancing
Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Barrow In Furness garden flat for a while due to a new job. We instructed a Barrow In Furness conveyancing firm in 2001 but they have closed and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease allows us to sublet. How do we find out?
Your lease dictates the relationship between the freeholder and you the flat owner; specifically, it will indicate if subletting is prohibited, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is permitted. The majority of leases in Barrow In Furness do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a clause would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a copy of the sublease.
I am attracted to a two apartments in Barrow In Furness both have about forty five years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Barrow In Furness is a deteriorating asset as a result of the shortening lease. The nearer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the value of the premises. The majority of purchasers and banks, leases with less than 75 years become less and less marketable. On a more positive 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 Barrow In Furness conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. More often than not it is possible to negotiate informally with the freeholder to extend 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Barrow In Furness. Am I liable to pay service charges for periods before 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. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. A critical element of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure 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 am a negotiator for a reputable estate agent office in Barrow In Furness where we have witnessed a number of flat sales jeopardised as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Barrow In Furness conveyancing solicitors. Can you shed some light as to whether the seller of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. The benefit of this is that the buyer need not have to sit tight for 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.
What advice can you give us when it comes to appointing a Barrow In Furness conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?
If you are instructing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Barrow In Furness conveyancing practice) it is most important that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you make enquires with several firms including non Barrow In Furness conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be helpful:
- If they are not ALEP accredited then why not?
Barrow In Furness Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Queries before buying
Are there any major works on the horizon that will likely increase the maintenance charges?
The majority of Barrow In Furness leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service charge for the upkeep of the building set on behalf of the freeholder. Should you buy the flat you will have to pay this amount, usually quarterly throughout the year. This could differ from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large communal areas. There will also be a rentcharge to be met yearly, this is usually not a exorbitant figure, say approximately £25-£75 but you should to check it because occasionally it could be prohibitively expensive.
The prefered form of lease arrangement is if the freehold reversion is owned by the leaseholders. In this situation the leaseholders benefit from being in charge if their destiny and even though a managing agent is often employed if the building is larger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants.