Top Five Questions relating to Chesham leasehold conveyancing
There are only Seventy years left on my flat in Chesham. I need to extend my lease but my landlord is absent. What are my options?
If you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the Court. You will be obliged to prove that you have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. For most situations a specialist should be useful to conduct investigations and prepare an expert document to be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is advisable to get professional help from a conveyancer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the vesting order request to the County Court covering Chesham.
I am hoping to put an offer on a small detached house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a reasonable price which is making it more attractive. I have since discovered that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in Chesham. Conveyancing advisers have not yet been appointed. Will they explain the issues?
Most houses in Chesham are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor used to dealing with such properties who can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in Chesham in which case you should be shopping around for a Chesham conveyancing solicitor and check that they are used to advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. As a tenant you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as requiring the landlord’sconsent to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your solicitor will report to you on the legal implications.
Last month I purchased a leasehold house in Chesham. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
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. It is an essential part 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 Chesham where we have witnessed a number of leasehold sales put at risk as a result of leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have received contradictory information from local Chesham conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can start the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
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. The benefit of this is that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as 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.
What makes a Chesham lease unacceptable for security purposes?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Chesham. Most leases is drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain provisions are missing. For example, if your lease is missing any of the following, it could be defective:
- Repairing obligations to or maintain elements of the premises
- Insurance obligations
- A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
- Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage
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. Birmingham Midshires, The Mortgage Works, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd 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 does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to provide security, obliging the buyer to pull out.
Chesham Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - A selection of Queries before buying
Are there any major works in the near future that will increase the service costs?
Who manages the block?
Plenty Chesham leasehold apartments will incur a service bill for the upkeep of the block levied by the management company. Where you acquire the flat you will have to pay this liability, usually in instalments accross the year. This may vary from several hundred pounds to thousands of pounds for blocks with lifts and large communal areas. There will also be a rentcharge for you to pay yearly, this is usually not a significant figure, say around £50-£100 but you should to enquire as on occasion it could be surprisingly expensive.