Common questions relating to Brighton leasehold conveyancing
Having had my offer accepted I require leasehold conveyancing in Brighton. Before I set the wheels in motion I would like to find out the remaining lease term.
If the lease is registered - and most are in Brighton - then the leasehold title will always include the basic details of the lease, namely the date; the term; and the original parties. From a conveyancing perspective such details then enable any prospective buyer and lender to confirm that any lease they are looking at is the one relevant to that title.For any other purpose, such as confirming how long the term was granted for and calculating what is left, then the register should be sufficient on it's own.
I’m about to sell my garden flat in Brighton.Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed but I have just received a yearly service charge invoice – what should I do?
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 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. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
I've recently bought a leasehold flat in Brighton. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
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 am employed by a busy estate agent office in Brighton where we have witnessed a few flat sales jeopardised as a result of short leases. I have received conflicting advice from local Brighton conveyancing solicitors. Could you shed some light as to whether the owner of a flat can start the lease extension process 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 buyer can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or simultaneously with completion of the sale.
Alternatively, it may be possible 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 purchaser.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Brighton what are the most common lease problems?
Leasehold conveyancing in Brighton is not unique. Most leases are unique and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain elements of the premises
- A duty to insure the building
- 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
A defective lease will likely cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Halifax, Skipton Building Society, and Britannia 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 problematic they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to pull out.
Brighton Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Queries before buying
Does the lease include onerous restrictions?
Who are the managing agents?
Please note if it is no more than 80 years it will have adverse implications on the marketability of the apartment. It is worth checking with your bank that they are willing to go ahead with the loan given the lease term. A short lease means that you will probably have to extend the lease sooner rather than later and you need to have some idea of what this will be. For most Brightonlease extensions you would need to own the premises for two years before you are eligible to carry out a lease extension.