Questions and Answers: Belper leasehold conveyancing
Helen (my wife) and I may need to let out our Belper 1st floor flat temporarily due to a career opportunity. We used a Belper conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not think at the time get any guidance as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?
A small minority of properties in Belper do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord is not entitled to unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience dictates that problems are usually caused by unsatisfactory tenants rather than owner-occupiers and for that reason you can expect the freeholder to take up the references and consider them carefully before granting consent.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold house in Belper. Conveyancing and Alliance & Leicester mortgage are in place. A letter has just been received from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1998. The conveyancing practitioner in Belper who acted for me is not around.Any advice?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to make sure that the individual purporting to own the freehold is in fact the new freeholder. There is no need to incur the fees of a Belper conveyancing firm to do this as it can be done on-line for £3. You should note that in any event, even if this is the legitimate landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
Last month I purchased a leasehold property in Belper. 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. A critical element 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 am a negotiator for a busy estate agent office in Belper where we see a number of leasehold sales jeopardised due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Belper conveyancing solicitors. Please can you clarify whether the seller of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has owned the lease 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 proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder 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 purchaser.
We expect to complete the disposal of our £400000 apartment in Belper next Friday . The management company has quoted £300 for Certificate of Compliance, insurance certificate and previous years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge exorbitant fees for a leasehold conveyance in Belper?
Belper conveyancing on leasehold flats normally results in fees being levied by landlords agents :
- Completing pre-exchange questions
- Where consent is required before sale in Belper
- Copies of the building insurance and schedule
- Deeds of covenant upon sale
- Registering of the assignment of the change of lessee after a sale
Leasehold Conveyancing in Belper - Sample of Queries before Purchasing
Can you inform me if there are any major works on the horizon that could add a premium to the maintenance fees?
The majority of Belper leasehold flats will be liable to pay a service charge for the upkeep of the building invoiced on behalf of the landlord. Should you purchase the flat you will have to pay this amount, usually quarterly during the year. This can vary from two or three hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for buildings with lifts and large communal areas. There will also be a rentcharge for you to pay annual, normally this is not a exorbitant amount, say around £25-£75 but you need to check as on occasion it could be surprisingly expensive.
Please note if it is fewer than 80 years it will affect the salability of the flat. It is worth checking with your lender that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. Leases with less than 80 years remaining means that you will almost definitely require a lease extension sooner rather than later and you need to have some idea of how much this would cost. Remember, in most cases you would need to own the residence for 24 months before you are legally able to carry out a lease extension.