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Questions and Answers: Braintree leasehold conveyancing

I’m about to sell my ground floor flat in Braintree.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just received a yearly maintenance charge demand – Do I pay up?

The sensible thing to do is discharge the invoice 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 managing agents 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. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.

I am attracted to a couple of apartments in Braintree which have approximately forty five years unexpired on the leases. Should I regard a short lease as a deal breaker?

A lease is a legal document that entitles you to use the property for a period of time. As a lease gets shorter the saleability of the lease decreases and results in it becoming more costly to acquire a lease extension. For this reason it is often a good idea to extend the lease term. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease as mortgage companies may be reluctant to lend money on such properties. Lease extension can be a protracted process. We advise that you seek professional assistance from a conveyancer and surveyor with experience in this arena

I am employed by a reputable estate agency in Braintree where we have experienced a number of flat sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Braintree conveyancing solicitors. Could you confirm whether the seller of a flat can start the lease extension formalities for the buyer?

Provided that the seller has been the owner 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 disposal of the property.

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.

Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Braintree conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a solicitor for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Braintree conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggested that you talk with several firms including non Braintree conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:

  • How experienced is the practice with lease extension legislation?
  • What are the costs for lease extension work?

  • What makes a Braintree lease unmortgageable?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Braintree is not unique. Most leases are unique and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    You could encounter difficulties when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Barnsley Building Society, and Clydesdale all have express requirements when it comes to what is expected in a lease. Where a lender has been advised by their lawyers that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to withdraw.

    Braintree Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Questions you should ask Prior to Purchasing

      The best form of lease arrangement is a share of the freehold. In this situation the leaseholders enjoy being in charge if their destiny and notwithstanding that a managing agent is usually employed where the building is bigger than a house conversion, the managing agent is directed by the tenants. Does the lease include onerous restrictions? Is the freehold reversion owned jointly by the leaseholders?

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Braintree