Top Five Questions relating to Bedford leasehold conveyancing
I would like to let out my leasehold apartment in Bedford. Conveyancing solicitor who did the purchase is retired - so can't ask him. Is permission from the freeholder required?
The lease governs the relationship between the freeholder and you the leaseholder; in particular, it will say if subletting is banned, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no expres ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. The majority of leases in Bedford do not prevent strict prohibition on subletting – such a provision would undoubtedly devalue the property. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly sending a duplicate of the sublease.
There are only Sixty One years remaining on my lease in Bedford. I need 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 extended by the Court. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have done all that could be expected to locate the landlord. On the whole a specialist may be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report to be accepted by the court as evidence that the freeholder can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a conveyancer in relation to proving the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Bedford.
I have just started marketing my basement apartment in Bedford.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just had a half-yearly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is clear 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 until 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.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Bedford. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to 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. However, 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).
If all goes to plan we aim to complete our sale of a £225000 garden flat in Bedford on Wednesday in a week. The managing agents has quoted £336 for Certificate of Compliance, building insurance schedule and 3 years service charge statements. Is the landlord entitled to charge exorbitant fees for a flat conveyance in Bedford?
Bedford conveyancing on leasehold maisonettes normally necessitates the buyer’s solicitor submitting enquiries for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to respond to such questions the majority will be willing to do so. They are at liberty invoice a reasonable administration fee for answering questions or supplying documentation. There is no upper cap for such fees. The average costs for the paperwork that you are referring to is £350, in some situations it is in excess of £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a summary of entitlements and obligations in relation to administration charges, without which the invoice is technically not due. In reality you have no option but to pay whatever is demanded if you want to complete the sale of your home.
I bought a ground floor flat in Bedford, conveyancing having been completed 9 years ago. Can you give me give me an indication of the likely cost of a lease extension? Equivalent flats in Bedford with an extended lease are worth £195,000. The ground rent is £55 levied per year. The lease terminates on 21st October 2090
You have 67 years remaining on your lease we estimate the premium for your lease extension to span between £10,500 and £12,000 as well as plus your own and the landlord's "reasonable" professional fees.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs in the absence of detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.