Examples of recent questions relating to leasehold conveyancing in Benfleet
I’m about to sell my 2 bed flat in Benfleet.Conveyancing has not commenced but I have just received a half-yearly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?
Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should 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 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.
I own a leasehold house in Benfleet. Conveyancing and Godiva Mortgages Ltd mortgage went though with no issue. A letter has just been received from someone claiming to own the freehold. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Benfleet who previously acted has now retired.What should I do?
First make enquiries of the Land Registry to be sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. It is not necessary to incur the fees of a Benfleet conveyancing firm to do this as you can do this on the Land Registry website for less than a fiver. You should note that in any event, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 the limitation period for recovery of ground rent is six years.
I am looking at a couple of flats in Benfleet which have in the region of fifty years remaining on the lease term. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?
There is no doubt about it. A leasehold flat in Benfleet is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The closer the lease gets to its expiry date, the more it reduces the salability of the property. The majority of purchasers and lenders, leases with less than 75 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 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 premises 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 Benfleet 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 Benfleet. Do I have any liability for service charges for periods before my ownership?
In a situation 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 reputable estate agency in Benfleet where we have experienced a few leasehold sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received conflicting advice from local Benfleet conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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 kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having 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 at the same time as 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 buyer.
Benfleet Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should ask before buying
On the whole the outlay for major works tend not to be included within maintenance charges, although a few managing agents in Benfleet ask tenants to contribute towards a sinking fund and this is used to offset against major repairs or maintenance.
Best to be warned whether window replacement or some other major work is anticipated that will be shared amongst the leasehold owners and may well materially impact the level of the service fees or result in a specific payment.
Many Benfleet leasehold flats will incur a service bill for the upkeep of the block levied by the landlord. Where you acquire the flat you will have to pay this charge, usually quarterly accross the year. This can differ from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for buildings with lifts and large communal areas. There will also be a ground rent to be met annual, ordinarily this is not a exorbitant sum, say approximately £25-£75 but you should to check it because occasionally it can be many hundreds of pounds.