Top Five Questions relating to Bishopston leasehold conveyancing
My partner and I may need to sub-let our Bishopston basement flat for a while due to a new job. We used a Bishopston conveyancing practice in 2004 but they have closed and we did not think at the time seek any guidance as to whether the lease permits subletting. How do we find out?
Some leases for properties in Bishopston do contain a provision to say that subletting is only allowed with permission. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold but, in such cases, they would need to review references. Experience suggests 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.
I am attracted to a two apartments in Bishopston both have approximately forty five years remaining on the leases. Do I need to be concerned?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Bishopston 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 purchasers and mortgage companies, leases with under 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 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 Bishopston 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.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Bishopston. 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).
I work for a reputable estate agent office in Bishopston where we have witnessed a few leasehold sales put at risk due to short leases. I have been given conflicting advice from local Bishopston conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities 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. This means that the proposed purchaser need not have to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or simultaneously with completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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.
Can you offer any advice when it comes to choosing a Bishopston conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Bishopston conveyancing firm) it is essential that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We recommend that you speak with several firms including non Bishopston conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:
- How experienced is the firm with lease extension legislation?
I own a garden flat in Bishopston, conveyancing was carried out half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Comparable flats in Bishopston with an extended lease are worth £214,000. The ground rent is £45 levied per year. The lease terminates on 21st October 2095
You have 74 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £10,500 and £12,000 as well as professional fees.
The suggested premium range above a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to supply a more accurate figure without more detailed due diligence. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be other issues that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. Neither should you move forward placing reliance on this information before getting professional advice.